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Tourism In Hawaii Is Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels For American Tourists

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Tourist arrivals in Hawaii reached a 96.3 percent recovery rate in April 2022 compared to April 2019, meaning that virtually, the numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels.

The statistics are looking good for the tourism industry in Hawaii, as restrictions have been lifted, and things are finally getting back to the normal hecticness of daily tourism on the islands.

Waikiki beach

In April alone, 818,268 visitors were arriving mainly by air. 2019 saw a trim of 31.129 extra tourists, with the total number being 849.397. This data shows that Hawaii is back to the center of the map when traveling is a subject, as the pandemic did not shake its image as a global touristic highlight.

However, some things are yet to rebound, as some statistics show different data from different countries. For example, the number of US tourists grew sharply. US West visitors rose 32.5%, and East ones up to 18.7%, meaning that it’s an enormous growth, especially after everything that happened in the US in the last two pandemic years.

crowded immigration queue

With a robust growth of American tourists, some other destinations have shyer numbers. For instance, Japanese visitors are usually the second most noteworthy destination of Hawaiian tourists, and numbers show that these numbers are yet to recuperate. April 2022 saw a mere 6,749 visitors compared to an astonishing 119,487 in 2019, representing a notable 94,4% decrease in this destination. 

Honolulu streets

The director of the DBEDT (The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism), Mike McCartney, spoke about the subject: “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 Hawai’i’s culture and manage our state’s resources so they can continue to remain healthy.”

Waikiki beach and diamond head

Indeed, things are looking to thrive for the next few months. Summer is about to anchor, and it seems promising as all events are moving forward without any restrictions, raising the hopes that Japanese tourists will come back to the islands with the similar strength as it used to be. 

International tourists arriving from other parts of the world also were not as high, seeing a 44.4% decrease, from 100,686 to 56,010. The exception are the Canadians, who decreased by only 24.4%.

crowded airport

Although numbers are still a little behind as they were, the visitor’s spending is much higher. Visitors spent $1.6 billion on the islands in April, a 21% increase over the $1.32 billion recorded in April 2019, bringing back a much higher revenue in tourism for the government of Hawaii, helping the local economy in a much more significant amount. More noticeable are the west coast tourists, which spent 30.4% more, and the east coast a 20.9%.

crowded waikiki beach

The pandemic seems to be still influencing tourism this year. Although April numbers are looking promising, the first four months of the year combined are still significantly behind pre-pandemic levels. In 2022 there were 2,812,030 arrivals compared to 3,376,675 in 2019, a 16.7% decrease. It might be due to the Omicron variant at the beginning of the year, which peaked in January, worrying some about traveling across the pacific in closed airplanes.

tourists in waikiki beach

Hawaii tourism industry is excited about this year. The pandemic seems to be much better, helping the tourism industry regain its power after two years of difficulties in various areas. However, it’s crucial to point out that the number of covid cases is growing in Hawaii. Specialists predict another peak in June cases, making it essential to think about other people’s health.

Oahu landscape

Summer is getting closer, and Hawaii is bracing itself for the busy season. Overtourism has been an issue in the Aloha state, and many locals wonder how to cope with the excessive flock of visitors; that being said, planning your vacation is vital to respect others and be aware of where you’re going and what you may encounter.


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