Friday, May 18, 2007

Isle visitor accommodation tally edges lower

Oahu lost 1 percent of its hotel inventory last year, but timeshares and condos were up

Reinvestment and renovation in Hawaii's visitor industry led to more condominium/hotel and timeshare units and fewer conventional hotel rooms last year, according to a report released yesterday by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

The total number of visitor accommodation units statewide in 2006 contracted 0.8 percent from 2005, to 72,516 total units. Kauai had the largest decline with a 2.7 percent or 219 room reduction. Oahu lost 1 percent, or 332 rooms, of its hotel inventory and Maui and the Big Island each had a 0.2 percent decrease.

"The data showed an increase in condominium/hotel and timeshare units, which resulted in a decrease in traditional hotel properties. This change was expected, given the amount of renovations that has been taking place," said Tourism Liaison, Marsha Wienert.

The changes are part of an ongoing trend in Hawaii for visitors to enter the residential housing market either as second-home buyers, timeshare or condotel owners.

The trend is expected to continue as long as Hawaii's residential real estate market outperforms mainland markets and the state continues to host repeat visitors in greater numbers. Year to date, DBEDT numbers show that the number of repeat visitors is running at an unprecedented 70 percent, Wienert said.

"That's something that concerns us," she said. "I remember when we hit 55 percent years ago and we all thought that was bad."

The 2006 report showed year-on-year increases in the number of condotel units on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. Meanwhile, the hotel room count declined on Kauai, Oahu and Maui just as the number of timeshare units rose.

As more of Hawaii's hotel renovations are completed this year, the state will see more rooms coming to market, Wienert said.


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