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Hawaii tourism sag in September widened year-to-date visitor arrivals drop to 72%


Oct. 29, 2020

Hawaii tourism continued its COVID-19 slump in September, which saw visitor arrivals down more than 97% from the prior year.
Only 18,868 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air in September, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division. During the same month last year, 736,155 visitors who came by air service and cruise ships in September 2019. Cruise ships were not operating this September due to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.
The bulk of visitors traveling to Hawaii in September or 9,994 came from the U.S. West, Hawaii’s core tourism market. There were also 6,033 visitors from the U.S. East. There were very few seats from these markets into Hawaii in September.
There were no direct flights or scheduled seats to Hawaii from Canada, Oceania and Asia markets outside of Japan. International traffic, which was affected more by COVID-19 and restrictions than the domestic markets, was quite low.
HTA reported that only 79 visitors coming from Japan, Hawaii’s top international market. Some 162 visitors came from Canada and 2,601 visitors came from the category that HTA calls all other international markets, which includes visitors from foreign nations outside of Japan and Canada. Most of the visitors in all other international markets category came from Guam, smaller numbers came from the Philippines, Other Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific Islands.
A major reason for the drop in visitors in September was that trans-Pacific air seats fell nearly 85% year-over-year to 156,220 trans-Pacific air seats. Another impediment to travel demand was that all trans-Pacific passengers were subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. There also was a partial interisland quarantine for those traveling to the counties of Kauai, Hawaii island, Maui and Kalawao (Molokai).
In the first nine months of 2020, total visitor arrivals declined nearly 72% percent to just over 2.2 million visitors.
The trans-Pacific quarantine has been in place since March 26. Starting Oct. 15 the state began a pre-arrivals testing program allowing visitors to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine if they can provide proof of a negative NAAT COVID-19 test from a trusted Hawaii testing partner taken 72 hours prior to their departure for Hawaii.
On Tuesday alone 4,371 trans-Pacific passengers flew into Hawaii, of those 2,013 said they came for pleasure/vacation or to visit friends and family.
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