Hawaii tourism

Hawaii tourism self-correction arrives as economic boost


Feast or Famine returns to the table with the question of whether Hawaii will face too many or too few visitors. As all the talk shifts from Covid to a possible recession, here’s what traveling to Hawaii could look like due to an upcoming economic downturn.

It’s a weird world these days. We are either obsessed with one thing or another. There seems to be very little time in between. Phew, does anyone else need a break from the intensity here or is it just us?

Visitors and residents speak about Hawaiian tourism: not enough or too much.

Domestic visitor arrivals to Hawaii are still at record numbers as summer begins in earnest today. But will this trend continue, or are we about to see another huge shift, where the whole conversation could turn into a dime.

Hawaii’s last, albeit brief, recession was in 2020-21, when the unemployment rate rose to 8% and there were no visitors to speak of. In fact, arrivals have fallen to just 5% of what they are today during Covid.

Looking back, the 2007-2009 recession caused a loss of at least $3 billion here in Hawaii, mostly due to the huge reduction in visitor numbers. It was a time when we had the islands to ourselves, much like with Covid. We won’t soon forget being on normally crowded beaches and seeing no one. The impact has been so severe in our state, which relies primarily on one industry, tourism.

Any signs that the number of visits and travel costs are about to correct?

We said yesterday that car rental prices are falling. No kidding. And that’s really just the beginning. The hundreds of comments about ridiculous car rental prices in Hawaii could soon be coming to an end. Hotel rates are slowly starting to come down as well, and we expect no less than 25% off accommodation rates in Hawaii over the next sixty days.

If we learned anything from the 2007-2009 recession, visitors stopped coming, hotel occupancy rates plummeted, and room rates plummeted. Given the rise in hotel prices in Hawaii, that would be a welcome relief.

There are more signs that this kind of change may be on the horizon.

Tourism in Hawaii remains vulnerable to huge fluctuations.

With our lack of economic diversification, Hawaii may experience rapid economic change. Indeed, a significant decline in Hawaii tourism and visitor spending is possible, if not imminent. Looking back from 2007 to 2009, you’ll recall that was also when Aloha Airlines and ATA Airways went out of business, NCL permanently ended two of its three weekly Hawaii cruises, and some Hawaii hotels ran out. money to pay their mortgages.

What would a flip-flop on overtourism in Hawaii look like?

Hawaii remains dependent on tourism just as it was before the 2007-2009 recession. It took until 2012 for visitor numbers to return to pre-recession levels. Visitor spending also fell precipitously, from which it largely never recovered.

The state has estimated that if a future recession were of the same severity as that of 2007-2009, visitor arrivals would be nearly 1.5 million lower per year, with up to 11 million visitor days in less and nearly $4 billion less per year. visitors’ money.

Your comments are welcome.

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