Hawaii tourism

The pace of Hawaii’s tourism recovery surprises even experts

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii’s tourism recovery is ahead of schedule – even though international tourism has yet to come back strong.

The state now expects visitor arrivals to reach 6.6 million this year, or 64% of arrivals from 2019.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries said he didn’t expect the rate of recovery to happen so quickly and attributes it to pent-up demand , pandemic progress and additional major airline routes.

“It’s a pendulum swing,” De Fries said. “Think about it: A year ago we were hovering around zero transpacific arrival and here we are a year later, having to deal with this kind of backsliding at a much faster rate than we would have expected. “

In a new report, the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism expects domestic arrivals to “fully recover” by the end of this year.

However, international tourism only experienced a rebound of 5%.

De Fries does not expect an increase in Japanese arrivals until the end of 2021 due to the country’s strict quarantine policy.

“So a traveler coming here for an average stay of five days having to go home and be quarantined for 14 days is not an incentive to travel to the United States at this time,” De Fries said.

As the influx continues, the Hawaii Tourism Authority launched a new marketing campaign this week that will be promoted at hotels across the state.

“Malama Hawaii” represents a shift from promoting activities and offers visitors the opportunity to volunteer with local non-profit organizations for an enriching experience.

“It is designed to cater to people who are much more conscious, who are looking for an authentic experience and authenticity can only be offered by those who are steeped in our community values, community activity as well as cultural expertise “, De Fries mentioned.

“It will become a growing segment of the Hawaiian brand moving forward.”

While visitor levels are seeing positive growth, the state predicts that a true recovery to pre-COVID levels will not occur until at least 2024.

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