According to a report from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, there were 259,094 visitors to Maui in December 2022 compared to 275,419 visitors in December 2019.
However, those visitors spent $557 million this December compared to $513 million in December 2019, pre-pandemic.
Statewide, Hawai’i received 9.2 million visitors in 2022 and 10.4 million in 2019. But visitor spending was up last year: $19.3 billion in 2022 next to $17.7 billion in 2019.
This indicates the state is catering, overall, to a wealthier demographic. The strategy might work. Many locals might support it, because it means less-crowded beaches and parks but the same (or greater) level of spending.
But it could also price out working-class families who’ve saved up for a tropical vacation and would get more bang for their buck at countless other destinations.