Canada Association of Tourism Employees

People fly in report numbers to Hawaii Resorts and Seashores once more

The Hawaii Tourism Authority remains calm. Hotel managers don’t want to talk, Hawaii has to remain a secret gem.
Competing destinations haven’t noticed yet, but Hawaii is seeing a record number of arrivals this month and it could get a lot bigger.

  1. Hawaii’s travel and tourism industries are experiencing an unexpected boom
  2. With international borders closed, Hawaii now relies heavily on a US domestic market, but that could change soon.
  3. Hawaii is becoming a serious competitor to the Caribbean for American visitors

Hula dancers are starting to smile again, beach bars reopening, many shops are full, more and more hotels and resorts in Waikiki and elsewhere in Hawaii are reopening. It can take an hour or more to get a table at popular restaurants like OIive Tree in Ala Moana Mall or Istanbul Turkish Restaurant in Kakaako.

Hotel prices aren’t exactly a bargain, the Hawaiian real estate market is booming.
Hawaii is Safe, COVID-19 Low, and the island nation is a well-known but exotic American travel destination.

However, the convention center is deserted, meeting rooms are not in use, but hotel occupancy has increased, the beaches are full and car rental companies are bringing vehicles back to the airports from the parking lots.

Everyone wears a mask, everyone accepts social distancing, there are no quarrels or fights, and the aloha spirit of love and compassion seems contagious. This is the case today in the 50th state of Hawaii.

With many international borders still closed to Americans, a vacation to Hawaii has become more realistic for Americans.

On the run from COVID-19 infected states, local visitors fly to the islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai from all corners of the United States. New flights are announced or already implemented. New visitor markets like Florida now have non-stop air connections to the state of Aloha. That was unthinkable even in the best of times.

In 2019, the arrivals for Hawaii visitors were at a peak. In September 2019, between 17,945 and 22,234 passengers were arriving in Hawaii every day. In September 2020, in the midst of corona infections, it was only 1,199 – 2,433 daily. These numbers were even lower in the months before.

In March 2019, an average of 19,985 to 28,292 passengers arrived daily, in March 2020, when coronavirus was not yet such a big problem for the US numbers, it fluctuated between 18,144 and 26,896

The arrival numbers almost disappeared between April 2020 and October 14, 2020. Hawaii allowed visitors to return from October 15, 2020. The requirement to avoid mandatory strictly enforced quarantine was a negative COVID-19 test approved by mainland US laboratories.

Immediately the percentage of arrivals increased from 2% to 20% compared to normal times, reaching 40% several times between October 15, 2020 and February 2021

A year with virus tourism arrivals continued to rise in March, registering 8,241 per day to 19,336 per day arrivals at the beginning of the month.

With arrival numbers like this, Hawaii is recording 60% or normal arrival times at this point, but here’s another potentially lucky twist.

Currently, the borders between the United States and most countries are closed. Arrivals from major international markets such as Canada, Japan, South Korea, China and Australia have not yet started. Flights are not yet in operation and visitors from Japan, for example, would have to observe the quarantine requirements after their return.

Hawaii is working with federal agencies on agreements with countries to re-launch safe travel arrangements with overseas markets. Hawaiian Airlines announced a preliminary agreement with Japan and Korea just yesterday.

Once those markets are back online, tourism for Aloha State could hit almost the same new normal numbers again.

Screenshot 2021 03 16 at 21 13 17

Hawaii has the lowest Covid cases in the US. For months there have been strict requirements on arrival to have negative COVID-19 certificates or to receive mandatory quarantine. Anyone who failed to adhere to mask rules and social distancing requirements has been charged with wrongdoing in Hawaii.

Many in Hawaii predicted an increase in COVID-19 cases along with an increasing number of visitors. This was not the case. Hawaii has the lowest infection rates in the United States.

The highest number of infections per million in the US is North Dakota with 132,732 infections. The US average per million is 91,333. In Hawaii that number is 20,024

The highest number of deaths per million in the US is recorded in New Jersey at 2,698. The US average is 1,660. Hawaii’s rate is 319.

Are these numbers the reason for this quiet boom in the travel and tourism industry to Hawaii?

Americans love traveling to a region with low COVID-19 cases. Americans may not be willing to travel internationally.

Hawaii may finally get a desire to attract well educated, high-spending travelers. This is the current trend. Hawaii may also be able to shift the focus from the sand to culture and other destination highlights. There’s a lot in the pipeline and it’s moving quietly so as not to wake up the competition.

As during this crisis, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state agency for promoting tourism, remains secret and quiet and does not return calls.

Hawaii has the exotic touch of an international destination, but the safety of domestic travel. Why should Hawaii now target Americans in Florida to pick Aloha State over Caribbean beaches?

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