Hawaii tourism

Is tourism in Hawaii approaching pre-pandemic levels?

Hawaii may be closer than originally thought when it comes to bringing tourists back to pre-pandemic levels.

Tourism in Hawaii saw a solid increase in air travel last week, thanks to spring break, when nearly 30,000 visitors arrived over a three-day period. While that’s still well below the average of 30,000 travelers who come to Hawaii daily, it’s still the largest three-day tourist streak in a year, or since the coronavirus pandemic began.

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According to Hawaii News Nowmost arrivals were on Oahu, and the upward trend in visitors was on full display at tourist hotspots like Waikiki and other beaches in the state.

Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said a mix of visitors come to Hawaii for spring break.

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“I checked with our hotels and partners, they said they see it in all areas – the budget conscious traveler who wants to come and bring their family, young adults who are on spring break and who yearn to come to a place where they can have fun in a safe and healthy way, and those who can afford to come to Hawaii and stay at the resort,” Hannemann said.

Hannemann credits pent-up demand, the state’s successful safe travel program and an increase in vaccinations as reasons for the influx.

But officials, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, say everyone’s guard should not be let down just because vaccines are being administered across the country.

“These should be warning signs for all of us – cases spiked last spring, they spiked again in the summer, they will spike now if we stop taking precautions as we continue to get more and more people vaccinated. people,” Walensky added.

Nevertheless, Hawaii has allowed Hawaiian Airlines to expand the state’s pre-clearance program to Japan – a lucrative market to attract tourists – and South Korea.

The program allows travelers who meet Hawaii’s pre-travel testing requirements to bypass the state’s 10-day quarantine and additional airport screening in Honolulu by having their documents checked before boarding.

Over the weekend, Hawaiian became the first airline operating flights between Japan and Hawaii to offer its pre-clear schedule with its service launched at Narita International Airport, near Tokyo. The program will expand to Kansai International Airport in the greater Osaka area of ​​Japan on Thursday.

Pre-Clear begins Friday at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Hawaiian recently added a second weekly flight between Honolulu and ICN to meet increased demand.

“Expanding our Pre-Clear program to Japan and South Korea simplifies the travel experience for our international customers so they can spend less time at the airport and more time on vacation or doing business in Hawai’i,” said Theo Panagiotoulias, senior vice president for global sales and alliances at Hawaiian Airlines. “We look forward to working with the State of Hawaii to expand the program to more markets and to continue to rebuild travel to Hawai’i in a way that is safe for visitors and our community.”