Hawaii Tourism: Visitor arrivals down 98.9 percent in May
In May 2020, visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands decreased 98.9 percent compared to a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division.
All passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-island during May were required to abide by a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Exemptions include travel for essential reasons like work or healthcare. In May, Governor David Ige’s “Stay-at-Home” order transitioned to the “Safer-at-Home” order, then eventually the state entered the “Act with Care” phase. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also continued to enforce its “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.
In May, a total of 9,116 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air service compared to 841,376 total visitors (by air and cruise ships) during the same period a year ago. Most of the visitors were from U.S. West (5,842, -98.5%) and U.S. East (2,647, -98.7%). A few visitors came from Japan (14, -100.0%) and Canada (20, -99.9%). There were 593 visitors from All Other International Markets (-99.4%), most of whom were visiting from Guam. Total visitor days dropped 96.3 percent year-over-year.
A total of 97,753 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in May, down 91.3 percent from a year ago. There were no direct flights or scheduled seats from U.S. East, Japan, Canada, Oceania, and Other Asia, and very few scheduled seats from U.S. West (-88.3%) and Other countries (-58.1%).
In the first five months of 2020, total visitor arrivals dropped 49.5 percent to 2,139,166 visitors, with significantly fewer arrivals by air service (-49.3% to 2,109,375) and by cruise ships (-60.7% to 29,792) compared to the same period a year ago. Total visitor days fell 46.3 percent.
Year-to-date, visitor arrivals by air service decreased from U.S. West (-49.3% to 917,741), U.S. East (-44.5% to 518,185), Japan (-51.6% to 294,255), Canada (-46.5% to 155,764) and All Other International Markets (-57.4% to 223,430).
• U.S. West: In May, 4,357 visitors arrived from the Pacific region compared to 292,106 visitors a year ago, and 1,443 visitors came from the Mountain region compared to 88,487 a year ago. Through the first five months of 2020, visitor arrivals declined substantially from both the Pacific (-50.5% to 693,435) and Mountain (-45.3% to 204,167) regions compared to the same period a year ago.
• U.S. East: Through the first five months of 2020, visitor arrivals dropped considerably from all
regions. The three largest regions, East North Central (-43.7% to 109,887), South Atlantic
(-50.6% to 94,545) and West North Central (-32.8% to 94,095) saw considerable decreases
compared to the first five months of 2019.
• Japan: In May, 14 visitors arrived from Japan compared to 113,218 visitors a year ago.
Year-to-date, arrivals declined 51.6 percent to 294,255 visitors.
• Canada: In May, 20 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 25,794 visitors a year ago.
Year-to-date, arrivals dropped to 155,764 visitors (-46.5%).
Highlights from All Other International Markets:
• Australia: Two visitors traveled to Hawaii in May compared to 26,317 visitors a year ago.
Through the first five months of 2020, arrivals decreased 53.3 percent to 50,072 visitors.
• New Zealand: There were 21 visitors in May versus 7,401 visitors a year ago. Through the first
five months of 2020, arrivals declined to 10,708 visitors (-58.8%).
• China: There were 16 visitors in May compared to 8,199 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date,
arrivals decreased 77.4 percent to 9,975 visitors.
• Korea: There were 21 visitors in May versus 16,026 visitors a year ago. Through the first five
months of 2020, arrivals fell 55.7 percent to 41,650 visitors.
• Taiwan: There were seven visitors in May compared to 5,798 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date,
arrivals dropped 71.2 percent to 3,460 visitors.
• Europe: There were 25 visitors from Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and
Switzerland) in May versus 10,255 visitors a year ago. Through the first five months of 2020,
arrivals decreased 55.7 percent to 20,444 visitors.
• Latin America: There were 11 visitors from Latin America (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) in May
compared to 2,573 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date, arrivals dropped 55.2 percent to 5,074
• Oahu: In May, total visitor days fell 94.9 percent compared to a year ago. There were 6,587
visitors on O‘ahu in May compared to 503,814 visitors year-over-year. Through the first five
months of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased 50.3 percent to 1,232,750 visitors.
• Maui: In May, total visitor days declined 98.4 percent from a year ago. There were 1,054 visitors
on Maui in May versus 249,208 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date, arrivals dropped 50.8 percent
to 604,888 visitors.
• Kauai: In May, total visitor days decreased 97.9 percent compared to a year ago. There were
571 visitors on Kaua‘i in May compared to 111,463 visitors a year ago. Through the first five
months of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased 48.8 percent to 282,559 visitors.
• Hawaii Island: In May, visitor days decreased 95.7 percent from a year ago. There were 1,257
visitors on Hawaii Island in May compared to 138,792 visitors a year ago. Through the first five
months of 2020, arrivals dropped 46.0 percent to 392,100 visitors.
Air Seats to Hawaii:
In May, total air capacity dropped 91.3 percent to 97,753 seats, comprised of 96,229 scheduled air
seats (-91.3%) and 1,524 charter seats (-84.1%). Service to Hilo was suspended and there were
very few air seats serving Honolulu (-87.3% to 88,682), Kahului (-98.4% to 3,667), Kona (-97.1% to
3,088) and Līhue (-97.1% to 2,316) compared to a year ago.
• Scheduled seats from U.S. West decreased 88.3 percent in May. Service to Hawaii from most
routes was suspended except for Los Angeles (-86.4% to 30,855 seats), Seattle (-73.4% to
23,983 seats), San Francisco (-84.6% to 19,432 seats) and Oakland (-80.5% to 10,675 seats),
which saw significant reductions from a year ago.
• There were no scheduled air seats from U.S. East in May, compared to 91,735 seats a year ago.
• There were no scheduled seats from Japan in May, compared to 161,248 seats a year ago.
• There were no scheduled seats from Canada in May, compared to 20,026 seats a year ago.
• There were no scheduled air seats from Oceania in May, compared to 41,905 seats a year ago.
• There were no scheduled air seats from Other Asia in May, compared to 39,906 seats a year
• Scheduled seats from Other markets (Apia, Christmas Island, Guam, Majuro, Manila, Pago Pago
and Papeete) decreased 58.1 percent compared to May 2019. Direct flights to Hawaii from most
routes were canceled except for Guam-Honolulu with 11,284 seats, which is unchanged from
• Year-to-date, total air capacity statewide declined 38.1 percent to 3,446,538 seats, due to the
reduction in air seats serving Honolulu (-37.6% to 2,138,211), Kahului (-36.7% to 728,976), Kona
(-39.0% to 337,416), Līhue (-44.3% to 232,971) and Hilo (-47.1% to 8,964).
Cruise Ship Visitors:
• In May, sails on the Hawaii home-ported cruise ship were suspended and no out-of-state cruise
ships were allowed into the islands. During the same month a year ago, 9,379 visitors came by
air to board the Hawaii home-ported cruise ship and four out-of-state cruise ships came with
• Year-to-date, 29,792 visitors entered Hawaii on 20 out-of-state cruise ships. Several of those
ships were smaller in capacity compared to the 35 cruise ships that carried 75,775 visitors in the
first five months of 2019.
• There were 52,705 total cruise visitors in the first five months of 2020, down 58.6 percent from a