Merrie Monarch: good for jobs, not so much for hotels - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Merrie Monarch: good for jobs, not so much for hotels

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HILO, Hawaii(HawaiiNewsNow) - Reports on jobless claims and hotel occupancy suggest the Merrie Monarch festival did Hilo retailers some good but did not move the needle on countywide occupancy.

Weekly jobless claims fell by more than 500 statewide last week to about 18,300, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations reported Thursday. But new claims fells in only one office statewide, the office in Hilo where Merrie Monarch was held.

Hotel occupancy last week on the Big Island held at 54%, seven points lower than the same week last year, Hospitality Advisors LLC reported Friday. Nationwide hotel occupancy for the same period was 57%, Smith Travel Research LLC reported Thursday.

Occupancy was also 54% on Kauai, while it was 71% on Maui and 72% on Oahu. Average room rates, compared to the same time last year, were up slightly on Oahu and Kauai, down 5% on Maui, and down 2.5% on the Big Island.

Most Big Island hotel capacity is on the Kona side, limiting the degree to which Merrie Monarch can move the needle on occupancy reports, and it is also true that many locals who attended the festival stayed with friends and relatives or secured rooms in B&Bs, which are not counted in the weekly hotel occupancy reports.

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