Maui County’s visitor arrivals last month surpassed pre-pandemic highs

PC: Kehaulani Cerizo

For the first time since the Hawaiian pandemic, monthly visitor numbers in Maui County surpassed historic highs set in 2019.

Last month, 254,398 visitors came to Maui — a nearly 3% increase from April 2019, when the number of visitors was 247,984, according to preliminary visitor statistics released today by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Maui’s average daily census, the number of visitors present on any given day, was 67,943 visitors last month, compared to 63,280 visitors in April 2019, an increase of more than 7%.

While domestic arrivals have surpassed pre-pandemic highs, this is the first month that total arrivals for Maui have surpassed 2019 figures.

For Maui, visitor spending also increased nearly 25% last month compared to 2019. Last month, visitors spent $496.7 million compared to $398.6 million in April 2019.


State economists have predicted the state will not match or surpass pre-pandemic annual highs for the next few years, but recent data suggests those thresholds are being breached sooner.


Nationally, April brought the highest rate of recovery in visitor spending and arrivals since February 2020, according to Mike McCartney, DBEDT director.

It was also the 12th consecutive month that visitor arrivals from the continental US exceeded the level of the same month in 2019.

“Everyday spending by US visitors increased 24.5 percent, which supported our communities, businesses and state tax revenues,” McCartney said in a press release.


Overall, the state posted a 96.3% recovery over the past month compared to the same month in 2019.

Driven by the US mainland market, 809,612 visitors arrived by plane. In addition, 8,656 visitors arrived on cruise ships.

In comparison, 849,397 visitors arrived by plane and cruise ship in April 2019, down 3.7% from the previous month.

The average length of stay for all visitors in April 2022 was 8.68 days, up 5.2% from 8.25 days in April 2019.

John De Fries, HTA President and CEO, said in the press release that several international destinations remained inaccessible to U.S. travelers over the past month and Hawaii continues to be a destination of choice for many of those travelers from the U.S. West and U.S. East markets.

He added that travel is likely to pick up well into the summer.

“We expect a more robust recovery in our international markets, particularly Japan, as we head into the summer months,” De Fries said.

In 2019, Hawaii saw an all-time high of more than 10 million visitors, with 3 million landing in Maui County. Visitor numbers remained strong through early 2020 before travel was halted in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Maui County residents have raised calls for better tourism management since tourism reopened in October 2020. You have spoken at many Maui County Council meetings about the negative impact of excessive tourism on limited natural resources, infrastructure and quality of life.

As a result, Maui County councilors imposed a temporary moratorium on building units for hotels and other temporary vacation rentals. The council is also considering setting a permanent temporary housing cap for Maui.

The council recently forwarded the proposal to the Maui Planning Commission and other advisory bodies for feedback. The measure is now awaiting an agenda date.

At the state level, lawmakers had requested funding to investigate issues surrounding excessive tourism.

Also, HTA recently launched a visitor education campaign.

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