Aerial view of Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. (photo via Art Wager/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Hawaii tourism continues its recovery.
According to preliminary visitor statistics released by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), total spending by visitors who came to the islands in March 2022 was $1.53 billion, which was higher compared to the $1.49 billion (up 2.5 percent) reported for March 2019.
Hawaii achieved record-level visitor expenditures and arrivals in 2019 through February 2020, but the pandemic pumped the brakes on tourism.
In March of this year, a total of 788,931 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands. More than 785,000 visitors arrived by air service, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East. Compared to the same time in 2019, when numbers reached more than 900,000 arrivals by cruise and air, which is down 15 percent.
From the U.S. West, visitation for 2022 is up. In March of 2019, 399,049 visitors arrived in the state, and this March, there were 452,752.
Arrivals were also up from the U.S. East. There were 233,286 visitors from the U.S. East in March 2022 compared to 225,648 visitors (up 3.4 percent) in March 2019.
The lag in visitation numbers stems from international arrivals. There were 4,038 visitors from Japan in March 2022 compared to 133,858 visitors (down 97 percent) in March 2019.
Arrivals from Canada are also lower. In March 2022, 54,475 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 76,913 visitors (down 29.2 percent) in March 2019.
Other international arrivals remained depressed as well. There were 41,164 visitors from all other international markets in March 2022. These visitors traveled from Europe, Oceania, other countries in Asia, Latin America, Guam, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands.
In comparison, there were 81,558 visitors (down 49.5 percent) from all other international markets in March 2019.
Visitor spending in Hawaii is also down. Through the first quarter of 2022, total visitor spending was $4.23 billion, a decrease of 5.8 percent from the first quarter of 2019 at $4.49 billion.
“The demand for quality lodging, food and beverage, activities, retail, and services will provide the momentum necessary for the state’s economic recovery to happen quicker than predicted,” said DBEDT Director Mike McCartney in a statement. “COVID-19 continues to exist within our neighborhoods and globally, so as a community we must continue with safe health practices and constant awareness of how quickly the virus can spread.”