Kauai is seeing record tourism numbers and spending

Sean Ahearn

A total of 80,000 domestic passengers passed through Lihu'e Airport in June, with visitor spending topping $1 billion already for 2023.

As summer tourism season took flight on Kaua'i, Lihu'e Airport saw its highest offboardings of the year last month. Roughly 80,300 passengers deplaned domestic flights in June 2023.

While June 2022 saw 95,824 passengers, it was eclipsed in July 2022 by 96,227 passengers. Only direct domestic flights are counted, including Kaua‘i residents returning home, and visitors arriving by inter-island flight are not included. In other words, visitors arriving from neighboring islands aren't included in the domestic deplanement total even if their flight originated in the Lower 48, nor are passengers arriving from Canada.

For the 12-months ended Dec. 31, 2022, the passenger count exceeded 900,000 for the first time in an annual period. It ended up at 910,558.A previous high of 772,705 was set in 2018, followed by 770,934 in 2019.

A total of $1 billion in visitor spending was reached on Kaua'i at the end of May, the earliest in a calendar year.

Some stats show spending totaled $1.08 billion in the five months ended May 31.

The same five-month period of 2022 saw $823.9 million, while pre-pandemic 2019 saw $767.6 million, an increase of 40.7 percent. In the current calendar year, visitor spending has exceeded $200 million in each month, with January posting the highest spending at $234.6 million. As more visitors came to the Garden Island, spending increased massively.


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