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Hawaii Visitor Arrivals Down 90 Percent: But There’s Hope

Hawaii Visitors Spent Nearly $18 billion in 2019
Hawaii visitor arrivals

Hawaii visitor arrivals continues to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2020, visitor arrivals decreased 90.4 percent compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division.

On October 15, the state launched a pre-travel testing program, allowing passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the 14-day quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 test result from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner. As a result, slightly more travelers arrived in Hawaii than in previous months, when testing was not an option to bypass the trans-Pacific quarantine requirement that began on March 26. Also in October, the County of Maui issued a stay-at-home order for all individuals on Lanai that began on October 27. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to enforce the “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.

During October 2020, a total of 76,613 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air service, compared to 796,191 visitors who came by air service and cruise ships in October 2019. Most of the visitors were from U.S. West (53,396, -84.9%) and U.S. East (19,582, -86.8%). Only 183 visitors came from Japan

(-99.9%) and 389 came from Canada (-98.8%). There were 3,064 visitors from All Other International Markets (-97.1%). Many of these visitors were from Guam, and a small number of visitors were from the Philippines, Other Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific Islands. Total visitor days1 declined 81.7 percent compared to October of last year.

A total of 223,353 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in October, down 79.0 percent from a year ago. There were no direct flights or scheduled seats from Canada, Oceania, and Other Asia, and fewer scheduled seats from Japan (-98.6%), U.S. East (-74.3%), U.S. West (-72.5%), and Other countries (-54.6%) compared to a year ago.

Year-to-Date 2020

In the first 10 months of 2020, total visitor arrivals dropped 73.4 percent to 2,296,622 visitors, with significantly fewer arrivals by air service (-73.4% to 2,266,831) and by cruise ships (-74.2% to 29,792) compared to the same period a year ago. Total visitor days fell 68.6 percent.

Year-to-date, visitor arrivals by air service decreased from U.S. West (-73.2% to 1,016,948), U.S. East (-70.5% to 564,318), Japan (-77.5% to 294,830), Canada (-63.2% to 156,565) and All Other International Markets (-78.0% to 234,168).

Other Highlights:

U.S. West: In October, 41,897 visitors arrived from the Pacific region compared to 271,184 visitors a year ago, and 11,496 visitors came from the Mountain region compared to 78,412 a year ago. Through the first 10 months of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased significantly from both the Pacific (-74.4% to 769,801) and Mountain (-69.1% to 226,657) regions year-over-year.

Alaska residents returning home were required to submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan online and arrive with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

U.S. East: Of the 19,582 U.S. East visitors in October, the majority were from the South Atlantic (-84.9% to 5,162), West South Central (-83.9% to 4,282) and East North Central (-87.8% to 3,594) regions. Through the first 10 months of 2020, visitor arrivals declined sharply from all regions. The three largest regions, East North Central (-67.2% to 117,060), South Atlantic (-74.3% to 107,721) and West North Central (-56.5% to 97,569) saw sharp decreases compared to the first 10 months of 2019.

In New York, a 14-day quarantine was required if a returning resident came from states with a significant degree of COVID-19 spread, defined as daily case rate of more than 10 in every 100,000 resident or a positive testing rate of higher than 10 percent.

Japan: In October, 183 visitors arrived from Japan compared to 134,557 visitors a year ago. Of the 183 visitors, 128 arrived on international flights from Japan and 55 came on domestic flights. Year-to-date through October, arrivals declined 77.5 percent to 294,830 visitors. Japanese nationals returning from abroad were requested to refrain from using public transportation and to stay at home for 14 days.

Canada: In October, 389 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 32,250 visitors a year ago. All 389 visitors came to Hawaii on domestic flights. Year-to-date through October, arrivals dropped 63.2 percent to 156,565 visitors. U.S. borders with Canada were restricted since March 2020. Travelers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.

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