Hawaii Tourism: Visitor spending is down in Aloha State 1

Hawaii Tourism: Visitor spending is down in Aloha State

  • Hawaii visitor arrivals for August 2021 increased from year ago but continued to lag August 2019.
  • Total spending by the State of Hawaii visitors arriving in August 2021 was $1.37 billion. 
  • Through the first eight months of 2021, total visitor spending was $7.98 billion, that represented a decrease of 33.8% from the $12.06 billion spent through the first eight months of 2019.

According to preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) total spending by visitors arriving in August 2021 was $1.37 billion. 

Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic and Hawaii’s quarantine requirement for travelers, the State of Hawaii experienced record-level visitor expenditures and arrivals in 2019 and in the first two months of 2020. Comparative August 2020 Hawaii visitor spending statistics were not available as the Departure Survey could not be fielded last August due to COVID-19 restrictions. August 2021 visitor spending was lower than the $1.50 billion (-8.9%) reported for August 2019.

A total of 722,393 visitors arrived by air service to the Hawaiian Islands in August 2021, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East as compared with only 23,356 visitors (+2,992.9%) who arrived by air in August 2020 and 926,417 visitors(-22.0%) in August 2019. 

In August 2021, passengers arriving from out-of-state could bypass the State’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine if they were fully vaccinated in the United States or with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner prior to their departure through the Safe Travels program. On August 23, 2021, Hawaii Governor David Ige urged travelers to curtail non-essential travel until the end of October 2021 due to a surge in Delta variant cases that has overburdened the state’s health care facilities and resources. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to enforce restrictions on cruise ships through a “Conditional Sail Order”, a phased approach for the resumption of passenger cruises to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 onboard.

The average daily census was 211,269 visitors in August 2021, compared to 22,625 in August 2020, versus 252,916 in August 2019.

In August 2021, 469,181 visitors arrived from the U.S. West, well above the 13,190 visitors (+3,457.1%) in August 2020 and exceeding the August 2019 count of 420,750 visitors (+11.5%). U.S. West visitors spent $810.0 million in August 2021, which surpassed the $579.3 million (+39.8%) spent in August 2019. Higher average daily visitor spending ($202 per person, +20.7%) and a longer average length of stay (8.54 days, +3.9%) contributed to the increase in U.S. West visitor expenditures compared to 2019. 


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