Hawaii hotel occupancy rate rises after 18 months

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 10:35 AM

Hotel occupancy in Hawaii rose slightly in September, the first increase after 18 months of declines, Hospitality Advisors LLC reported.

Hotel occupancy statewide was 64.6 percent, up from 63 percent in the same month last year, the hotel, tourism and real estate consulting services company said Monday.

The increase coincided with a 7.2 percent jump in the number of visitors coming to the islands in September.

State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert has attributed the increase in visitor numbers to the American Dental Association's 150th annual convention in Honolulu, Japan's Silver Week holiday period and additional marketing efforts.

But while visitor numbers were up last month, revenue continued to suffer, with room rates falling 10.2 percent in September to $160.29.

Over the first nine months of 2009, Hawaii hotel revenues fell 19.8 percent to $1.8 billion, or $455 million less than the revenues tallied in the same time period in 2008, Hospitality Advisors said.

"The losses that Hawaii's industry has had to absorb over the past 20 months have been unprecedented," said Joseph Toy, president and CEO of Hospitality Advisors. "While the losses have been steep, we should keep in mind that the global recession has had a tremendous impact not only on Hawaii's visitor industry, but also well as its primary competitors."

Hawaii remains competitive in the U.S. market as well as among other island destinations, Toy said.

"We are beginning to see the rate of loss narrow, which hopefully will lead to the start of a sustainable recovery beginning in summer 2010," he said.