Digging into the dramatic growth in tourism in Hawaii this summer, we were surprised at how popular the neighboring islands have become compared to Honolulu. Read on to find out what this means on your next Hawaii vacation and how to deal with it. In fact, domestic visitor arrivals to a neighboring island have only increased by 21% compared to the same period before Covid.
CST talked about summer tourism in general, pointing to what is also evident here in Hawaii. Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said that as of Friday, the TSA had “highest checkpoint volume since February 11, 2020.” In total, they screened nearly 2.5 million passengers. She said “Get to the airport early, it’s crowded!”
This was also confirmed to us by Hawaiian airlines spokesperson Alex DaSilva, who told us:the only constant this summer is the volume of travelers (global airport congestion).”
the state of hawaii agrees, saying that “tourism recovery continuesemployment has increased and…labour shortages have limited growth.
Visitors to Hawaii are turning to nearby low-density island experiences.
From this spring, the state data indicated that the recovery “was robust especially on the neighboring islands.” This trend is continuing and even accelerating.
The Big Island, Kauai and Maui have all outpaced Honolulu in domestic visitor growth, since the state’s last data set from April. At that time, Maui was +3%, Big Island +8% and Kauai +9% ahead. This has since changed significantly, as you will see below.
Domestic visitor arrivals in Honolulu in June 2022. Unchanged.
So far this month (through June 26) there have been 375,863 domestic visitor arrivals. That compares to virtually the same number in 2019, which was 375,659.
Domestic visitor arrivals to Maui in June 2022. +7%.
This month (through June 26), 216,298 domestic passenger arrivals took place in Maui. This compared to 203,018 in June 2019.
Domestic visitor arrivals to Kauai June 2022. +21%.
In June, to date (through June 26), there were 79,628 domestic passenger arrivals. This compared to 65,586 in 2019.
Arrivals of national visitors to the Big Island in June 2022 + 19%.
In the first 26 days of June, there were 106,323 domestic passenger arrivals. This compares to 89,321 in 2019.
What you can do about visitor congestion.
More than anything else, take a breather if you’re visiting Hawaii this summer and hopefully everything will be fine. This given the continuing wave of flight delays in Hawaii and some cancellations as well.
Be prepared, especially on nearby islands this summer, for more traffic, lack of availability, queues and busy beaches. Plan ahead. Remember there will be more people than our limited resources can handle, so be patient and practice Aloha.
Prepare for traffic jams. It can take hours to cross from one side of an island to the other. Plan accordingly and check the maps before you go. Please allow extra time to reach your destinations safely and stay in a vacation state of mind.
Labor shortages continue to frustrate everyone. With more than enough customers but insufficient staff, wait times can get longer.
And a new phenomenon: the rapidly changing business hours in Hawaii.
We’ve solved labor shortages at Hawaii’s hotels, restaurants, and activity providers. In the past two months, we have experienced something different. We walk into or pass a restaurant or cafe in Hawaii and find them suddenly closed during their regular business hours. It seems that as staff availability changes rapidly, these companies are quickly installing handmade panels in windows and changing hours to make accommodations. We have seen this in both chain restaurants and local restaurants. Keep that in mind and welcome to the new normal.
What experiences have you had recently while vacationing in Hawaii?