Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawai‘i Tourism Plunges Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Any positive gains in Hawai‘i’s tourism industry during the first couple months of 2020 were eliminated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority released a monthly report that showed both visitor spending and arrivals were down more than 50% compared to a year ago. Flight cancelations to the Hawaiian Islands began in February, initially impacting the China market, later showing widespread impacts in March.

On March 13, most cruise lines voluntarily suspended ship operations in US waters. On March 17, Gov. David Ige asked upcoming visitors to postpone their trips for at least the next 30 days. The counties also began issuing stay-at-home orders. As of March 26, all passengers arriving from
out-of-state were required to abide by a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

As a result, visitor spending was down 52.2% in March 2020, year-over-year. Visitors to Hawai‘i spent a total of $720.2 million.


Also in March, visitor arrivals were down 53.7% compared to a year ago. A total of 434,856 visitors traveled to Hawai‘i, comprising arrivals by air service (-53.6% to 430,691) and cruise ships (-64.8% to 4,165). Total visitor days declined 49.7% versus a year ago.

Arrivals by air service decreased from Japan (-66.1%), Canada (-65.0%), All Other International Markets (-60.6%), US West (-49.7%) and US East (-45.9%).

A total of 943,095 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in March, down 20.9% from a year ago, due to reduction/suspension of flights.


Visitor spending dropped 14.1% compared to the first quarter of 2019 to $3.89 billion. Total visitor arrivals in the first quarter declined 16.4% to 2,125,486 visitors due to fewer arrivals by air (-16.3% to 2,095,695) and cruise ships (-24.8% to 29,792) versus a year ago. Total visitor days dropped 15.1%.

Visitor arrivals by air service in the first quarter decreased from US West (-11.8% to 908,883), US East (-11.1% to 514,309), Japan (-21.5% to 294,228), Canada (-25.7% to 155,735) and All Other International Markets (-27.9% to 222,540).

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments