Maui fires impact tourism spending

Hawaii's tourism industry experienced its second straight loss in September because of the Maui fires, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said.

September's tourism spending is down 9.6% when compared to last year but is 10% higher than in September 2019, the department said.

The number of visitors also decreased by 7.4% in September during the same period in 2022.

The August fires affected the western portion of Maui, including Lahaina, a popular destination. The number of visitors was down by more than 57% when compared to the previous year and more than 55% than in 2019. Visitor spending also decreased by more than 52% year over year.

Other islands had an increase in visitors in September compared to last year. The number of visitors to Oahu increased by 12.5%, Kauai had a 10.3% increase and Hawaii Island had an 8.6% increase.

"Visitor arrivals on Maui in September 2023 (94,221) recorded the lowest since February 2021 and visitor spending of $203.2 million on Maui in September 2023 was the lowest since March 2021," said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka. "With the reopening of West Maui that started in October, tourism on Maui is expected to improve over the next few months."

Gov. Josh Green reopened West Maui to visitors on Oct. 8 over the objection of local residents who said it was too soon. Cleanup is continuing from the fires that killed at least 97 people and destroyed or damaged more than 2,200 buildings. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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