Pride of America Hawaii itineraries sail roundtrip from Honolulu. Pictured, Waikiki Beach. (photo via Claudette Covey)
Hawaii’s post-pandemic recovery was accelerated this spring as the islands hosted 818,268 visitors in April. The figure represents a 96.3 percent recovery from April 2019 nearly one year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the highest recovery rate since the start of the pandemic in Hawaii.
According to other preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) on Thursday, visitors spent $1.6 billion in the islands last month, which is an increase of 21 percent compared to the $1.32 billion reported for April 2019.
A majority of Hawaii’s April visitors arrived by air from the U.S. West (514,878) or the U.S. East (188,868). While both of those visitor numbers represent a growth of 32.5 percent and 18.7 percent compared to April 2019 the islands are still looking to return to pre-pandemic marks when it comes to hosting visitors from Japan (-94.4 percent in April 2022 compared to April 2019), Canada (-24 percent) and other international markets (-44.4 percent).
Nonetheless, the destination is on an encouraging track for recovery heading into the summer as total visitor spending for the first four months of the year reached $5.83 billion, up slightly from $5.81 billion in the first four months of 2019.
“The month of April brought the highest recovery rate of visitor spending and arrivals since February 2020. It was also the 12th consecutive month in which visitor arrivals from the continental U.S. surpassed the same month’s level in 2019. Daily spending by U.S. visitors increased by 24.5 percent, which supported our communities, businesses and state tax revenues,” DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said in a statement. “In the next few months, we anticipate and are planning for the return of Japanese visitors. The increase of tour groups from Japan will allow us to continue our pivot towards educating all visitors about Hawaii’s culture and manage our state’s resources so they can continue to remain healthy.”
“Several international destinations across the globe remained inaccessible to U.S. travelers in the month of April, and Hawaii continued to be a preferred destination for many of those travelers from the U.S. West and U.S. East markets. As we move into the summer months, we are anticipating a more robust recovery of our international markets, especially Japan,” added Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries.
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