Maui News

Report: 183,779 Hawaiʻi Visitors in November; Down 77% from Year Ago

December 29, 2020, 9:37 AM HST
* Updated December 29, 10:01 AM
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The return of humpback whales in November are usually a big draw for tourists on Maui, but the ongoing pandemic continues to keep visitor numbers low. Photo Credit: Cammy Clark

Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry continues to feel significant impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 77.3 percent less travelers in November 2020 than the same month a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division.

In November, 183,779 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air service, compared to 809,076 visitors who came by air service and cruise ships in November 2019. Total visitor days declined 65.9 percent compared to November of last year.

Most visitors were from the US West (137,452; -63.4%) and US East (40,205; -73.3%). In addition, 524 visitors came from Japan (-99.6%) and 802 came from Canada (-98.4%). There were 4,795 visitors from all other International Markets (-94.3%). Many of these visitors were from Guam, and a small number of visitors were from the Philippines, other Asia countries, Europe, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific Islands.

In this report, spending statistics for November 2020 were all from US visitors. Data by visitors from other markets were not available.

Island Highlights:

  • Maui: In November, visitor spending on Maui was $124.2 million (-67.1%). Total visitor days declined 61.4 percent from November 2019. There were 63,740 visitors on Maui in November versus 232,330 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date through November, arrivals decreased 74.8 percent to 701,055 visitors.
  • Kaua‘i: In November, visitor spending on Kaua‘i was $50 million (-63.2%). Total visitor days were down 56.9 percent compared to November 2019. There were 28,487 visitors on Kaua‘i in November compared to 103,783 visitors a year ago. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals dropped 73.7 percent to 327,195 visitors.
  • Hawai‘i Island: In November, visitor spending on Hawai‘i Island was $54.4 million (-66.2%). In November, visitor days decreased 61.7 percent from November 2019. There were 28,070 visitors on Hawai‘i Island in November compared to 131,713 visitors a year ago. Through the first 11 months of 2020, arrivals fell 72 percent to 444,192 visitors.
  • O‘ahu: In November, visitor spending on O‘ahu was $109.8 million (-83.0%). Total visitor days decreased 71.3 percent from a year ago. There were 76,656 visitors on O‘ahu compared to 468,684 visitors in November 2019. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals dropped 74.9 percent to 1,402,157 visitors.

Beginning Oct. 15, passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county could bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test through Hawaiʻi’s Safe Travel Program. Starting Nov. 6, travelers from Japan could also bypass the mandatory quarantine in Hawaiʻi with a negative test result from a trusted testing partner in Japan. However, upon returning to Japan, travelers were subject to a 14-day quarantine.

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A new state policy went into effect Nov. 24 requiring all trans-Pacific travelers participating in the pre-travel testing program to have a negative test result before their departure to Hawaiʻi, and test results would no longer be accepted once a traveler arrives in the state. Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, and Molokaʻi also had a partial quarantine in place in November. Lānaʻi residents and visitors were under a stay-at-home order from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11. In addition, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued to enforce the “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.

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US West visitors spent $251.9 million (-55.3%) in November 2020, and their average daily spending was $156 per person (-12.8%). US East visitors spent $86.5 million (-71.8%) and $160 per person on an average daily basis.

A total of 440,846 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in November, down 58.9 percent from a year ago. There were no scheduled seats from Canada and Oceania, and considerably fewer scheduled seats from Other Asia (-99.2%), Japan (-98.4%), US East (-56.5%), US West (-43.5%), and Other countries (-50.5%) compared to a year ago.

Year-to-Date 2020

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In the first 11 months of 2020, total visitor arrivals dropped 73.7 percent to 2,480,401 visitors, with considerably fewer arrivals by air service (-73.7% to 2,450,610) and by cruise ships (-77.5% to 29,792) compared to the same period a year ago. Total visitor days fell 68.4 percent.

Year-to-date, visitor arrivals by air service decreased from US West (-72.4% to 1,154,401), US East (-70.7% to 604,524), Japan (-79.5% to 295,354), Canada (-66.9% to 157,367) and All Other International Markets (-79.2% to 238,963)

Other Highlights:

US West: In November, 110,942 visitors arrived from the Pacific region compared to 299,538 visitors a year ago, and 26,510 visitors came from the Mountain region compared to 65,587 a year ago. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased substantially from both the Pacific (-73.3% to 880,743) and Mountain (-68.3% to 253,168) regions year-over-year.

For California, a limited stay at home order was in effect on Nov. 21 due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. California residents returning home were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Oregon was in a statewide two-week freeze from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2, with risk reduction measures limiting gatherings, limiting operations of retail and dining establishments, closing gyms and recreation activities, and requiring most businesses to mandate work-from-home for their employees.

For Washington, a travel advisory was issued asking residents to stay close to home, and a 14-day quarantine was recommended for returning residents.

US East: Of the 40,205 US East visitors in November, the majority were from the West South Central (-63.1% to 9,744), South Atlantic (-71.5% to 9,649) and East North Central (-75.2% to 7,241) regions. Through the first 11 months of 2020, visitor arrivals declined significantly from all regions. The three largest regions, East North Central (-67.8% to 124,301), South Atlantic (-74.1% to 117,370) and West North Central (-58.1% to 101,152) saw sharp decreases compared to the first 11 months of 20.

In New York, returning residents had to obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure and must quarantine for three days. On day four of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID-19 test. If both tests came back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

Japan: In November, 524 visitors arrived from Japan compared to 131,536 visitors a year ago. Of the 524 visitors, 428 arrived on international flights from Japan and 96 came on domestic flights. Year-to-date through November, arrivals dropped 79.5 percent to 295,354 visitors. Starting Nov. 6, travelers from Japan could bypass Hawaiʻi’s mandatory quarantine with a negative test result from a trusted testing partner in Japan. However, most Japanese nationals returning from abroad must quarantine for 14 days except for qualified business travelers who returned from overseas trips lasting one week or less. These business travelers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and they were restricted to only commute between work and home.

Canada: In November, 802 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 50,598 visitors a year ago. All 802 visitors came to Hawaiʻi on domestic flights. Year-to-date through November, arrivals were down 66.9 percent to 157,367 visitors. US land borders with Canada have been partially closed since March 2020. Canadians were allowed to travel to the United States by air, and returning Canadian residents must self-isolate for 14 days.

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