After hearing that news it was opportune that we had Terryl Vencl from the Maui Visitors Bureau talk at our team meeting. She gave us updates and insights into what the current visitor situation is and where we think the future may be.
First she told us how the bureau is funded. Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is the only county that provides significant funding for the visitors bureau. Since tourism is such a significant amount of our economy, it makes sense that we put money in to get tourists here!
I hope my numbers are correct but I was taking notes fast that I make no guarantees!
She defined the target markets that they market to: (in order)
- Avid traveler – people who love to travel, and don’t just collapse on the beach when they get here! They get out and do lots of activities and spend $$.
- Romance traveler – The honeymooners, anniversary traveler.
- Spa and relaxation
- Families – although large in number, they tend to be the ones who spend the least amount of money.
Where in the world are we focusing our marketing dollars? I think it was interesting that this didn’t line up closely with actual counts. Canada is big focus area though only 9% of visitors are from Canada; I personally have a tough time believing that number ! Between open houses and my volunteer work at Ahihi it feels like at least half of our visitors are Canadian! The West Coast has traditionally been our biggest draw but with hurting economy has declined, the East Coast is picking up. Oceania is also growing. Japan is picking up and Japanese want to return! Also some efforts in Korea and China. She mentioned that they believe that the Korean “romance” market is huge!
So how much is this industry really down? Overall Maui County (3 islands) is down in visitor arrivals by 12.1% from this time last year. Maui island is down 12.3%. It is interesting to note that of the people who only visit Maui and not other islands, we are only down 6.9%. She commented that the truth seems to get really blown out of proportion. One hotel reported that their occupancy was down 30% and the rumor got out that they only had 30% occupancy!
The really good news is that it is a great time to come to Maui. Even though airline prices are higher, when they look at available inclusive packages they find that it is actually more cost effective to visit Maui than it has been for years.
Where do our visitors come from?
- 47% West Coast (declining)
- 32% East Coast
- 9% Canada
- 3% Japan
- 13% Other (Europe, Oceania, Other Asia, Latin America)
Maui WINS with the most repeat visitors at 66%.
Make your vacation plans today!
P.S. Our beautiful humpback whales have just started returning with a few sitings of young males.