Hawaii visitors are down as the industry continues to feel significant impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2020, visitor arrivals decreased 77.3 percent compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division.
This past November, a total of 183,779 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air service, compared to 809,076 visitors who came by air service and cruise ships in November 2019. Most of the visitors were from the U.S. West (137,452, -63.4%) and U.S. East (40,205, -73.3%). In addition, 524 visitors came from Japan (-99.6%) and 802 came from Canada (-98.4%). There were 4,795 visitors from All Other International Markets (-94.3%). 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 65.9 percent compared to November of last year.
Beginning October 15, passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county could bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner. Starting November 6, travelers from Japan could also bypass the mandatory quarantine in Hawaii with a negative test result from a trusted testing partner in Japan. However, upon returning to Japan, the travelers were subject to a 14-day quarantine.
A new state policy went into effect on November 24 requiring all trans-Pacific travelers participating in the pre-travel testing program to have a negative test result before their departure to Hawaii, and test results would no longer be accepted once a traveler arrives in the state. Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui, and Molokai also had a partial quarantine in place in November. Lanai residents and visitors were under a stay-at-home order from October 27 to November 11. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to enforce the “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.
Spending statistics for November 2020 were all from U.S. visitors. Data by visitors from other markets were not available. U.S. West visitors spent $251.9 million (-55.3%) in November 2020, and their average daily spending was $156 per person (-12.8%). U.S. East visitors spent $86.5 million (-71.8%) and $160 per person on an average daily basis.
A total of 440,846 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in November, down 58.9 percent from a year ago. There were no scheduled seats from Canada and Oceania, and considerably fewer scheduled seats from Other Asia (-99.2%), Japan (-98.4%), U.S. East (-56.5%), U.S. West (-43.5%), and Other countries (-50.5%) compared to a year ago.
In the first 11 months of 2020, total visitor arrivals dropped 73.7 percent to 2,480,401 visitors, with considerably fewer arrivals by air service (-73.7% to 2,450,610) and by cruise ships (-77.5% to 29,792) compared to the same period a year ago. Total visitor days fell 68.4 percent.
Year-to-date, visitor arrivals by air service decreased from U.S. West (-72.4% to 1,154,401), U.S. East (-70.7% to 604,524), Japan (-79.5% to 295,354), Canada (-66.9% to 157,367) and All Other International Markets (-79.2% to 238,963).
U.S. West: In November, 110,942 visitors arrived from the Pacific region compared to 299,538 visitors a year ago, and 26,510 visitors came from the Mountain region compared to 65,587 a year ago. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased substantially from both the Pacific (-73.3% to 880,743) and Mountain (-68.3% to 253,168) regions year-over-year.
For California, a limited stay at home order was in effect on Nov. 21 due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. California residents returning home were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. Oregon was in a statewide two-week freeze from November 18 to December 2, with risk reduction measures limiting gatherings, limiting operations of retail and dining establishments, closing gyms and recreation activities, and requiring most businesses to mandate work-from-home for their employees. For Washington, a travel advisory was issued asking residents to stay close to home, and a 14-day quarantine was recommended for returning residents.
U.S. East: Of the 40,205 U.S. East visitors in November, the majority were from the West South Central (-63.1% to 9,744), South Atlantic (-71.5% to 9,649) and East North Central (-75.2% to 7,241) regions. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals declined significantly from all regions. The three largest regions, East North Central (-67.8% to 124,301), South Atlantic (-74.1% to 117,370) and West North Central (-58.1% to 101,152) saw sharp decreases compared to the first 11 months of 2019.
In New York, returning residents had to obtain a COVID test within three days of departure and must quarantine for three days. On day four of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests came back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
Japan: In November, 524 visitors arrived from Japan compared to 131,536 visitors a year ago. Of the 524 visitors, 428 arrived on international flights from Japan and 96 came on domestic flights. Year-to-date through November, arrivals dropped 79.5 percent to 295,354 visitors. Starting November 6, travelers from Japan could bypass Hawaii’s mandatory quarantine with a negative test result from a trusted testing partner in Japan. However, most Japanese nationals returning from abroad must quarantine for 14 days except for qualified business travelers who returned from overseas trips lasting one week or less. These business travelers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and they were restricted to only commute between work and home.
Canada: In November, 802 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 50,598 visitors a year ago. All 802 visitors came to Hawaii on domestic flights. Year-to-date through November, arrivals were down 66.9 percent to 157,367 visitors. U.S. land borders with Canada have been partially closed since March 2020. Canadians were allowed to travel to the U.S. by air and returning Canadian residents must self-isolate for 14 days.