Hawaii hotels watch for crisis effects

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The newest weekly report on Hawaii hotel occupancy shows strong room sales in the days leading up to the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant crisis.

The figures released Friday by Hospitality Advisors LLC cover March 6-12. The earthquake struck Japan on March 11.

Arrivals on flights from Japan, which usually from 3,000 to 4,000 per day, were fewer than 500 on March 11. For March to date, compared to the same time last year, Japanese visitor traffic is down 13%, according to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Hotel performance by county:

  • Oahu, with half the hotel rooms in the state, had 84% hotel occupancy, same as the week before and seven percentage points better than the commensurate week last year, despite average room rates up 10%.
  • Maui, getting a very large increase in Canadian visitors, was 82% full, down two points from the previous week but up nine points from last year, with an average room rate of $250 that was up 18% from last year.
  • Big Island, also seeing higher arrivals from the North American mainland, had 66% hotel occupancy, five points better than the week before and 12 points better than last year, and an average room rate of $170, down 6% from last year.
  • Kauai hotel occupancy fell seven points to 60%, which was still one point better than year-ago levels; room rates fell 4% from year-ago levels to an average $189 a night.

National hotel occupancy for the same period was 61%, Smith Travel Research LLC reported. Hotel occupancy was 73% in Los Angeles and 83% in Orlando.

Hawaii arrivals by air are still up from last year because arrivals from the North American mainland are more than making up for the drop in arrivals from Japan, but some Hawaii hotels report cancellations in future bookings by mainlanders who think radiation from Japan will reach Hawaii before it gets to the West Coast.

Trade winds actually blow due east from Sendai, which is on the same approximate latitude as San Francisco, while Honolulu is much farther south on the same approximately latitude as Hanoi. Hawaii trade winds blow the opposite direction, from east to west.

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