Hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaiian tourism entered 2021 in critical condition with visitor arrivals down 74% from the previous year, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Tourism Authority. from Hawaii.
The agency reported 2.7 million visitor arrivals in 2020, when tourism halted in mid-March as the virus took hold here and around the world. This compares to 10.4 million arrivals in 2019.
The attempt to reopen tourism in the last quarter of 2020 through the state’s Safe Travels pre-arrival testing program has done little to boost industry vitals, HTA reported, with arrivals in December down 75% compared to the same month in 2019.
Only 235,793 visitors traveled to the islands by air last month, compared to 952,441 who arrived by air and cruise ship in December 2019, HTA said. (Cruise ships remain under a “no sail order” issued in March by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Even with COVID vaccinations taking place across the country, visitor industry officials have said Hawaii tourism likely won’t see a significant rebound until the third or fourth quarter of 2021, if that’s the case. case.
Other points of the HTA report:
>> Oahu welcomed 112,856 visitors in December compared to 558,346 visitors in December 2019. Spending by domestic visitors during the month fell nearly 80% to $156.5 million. (Data on international visitor spending was not available.) For 2020 as a whole, visitor arrivals fell 75% to 1.5 million.
>> Maui welcomed 90,605 visitors last month compared to 275,419 visitors a year earlier. Spending by visitors in December fell nearly 64% to $185.9 million. The total number of arrivals in 2020 decreased by 74% to 791,660 visitors.
>> Kauai had the strictest travel restrictions of any county, and it shows in HTA statistics, with just 3,759 visitors arriving on the island in December compared to 124,356 the previous year. Spending for the month fell 94% to $10.4 million. Visitor arrivals for all of 2020 fell nearly 76% to 330,954.
>> The island of Hawaii had 48,134 visitors in December compared to 177,912 visitors in 2019. Visitor spending for the month fell nearly 63% to $98 million. For the whole of 2020, arrivals fell by 72% to 492,325.
>> In December, total trans-Pacific air capacity fell about 52% to 599,440 seats. Total statewide air capacity for the year fell 61.8% to 4.72 million seats due to air service cuts.
>> Most December visitors came from the Western United States (151,988, down 64%) and the Eastern United States (71,537, down 67%). Canada had 3,833 visitors, a drop of 94%, and only 1,889 visitors came from Japan, a drop of nearly 99%.
>> For the full year, air visitor arrivals from the Western United States fell 71% to 1.3 million and 70% from the Eastern United States. United at 676,061. Arrivals from Canada fell 70% to 161,201 and 81% from Japan to 297,243.