Visitor Arrivals for Month of May Plummets Due to Pandemic

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The Hawaiian Islands saw a decrease in visitor arrivals by almost 100% for the month of May, compared to a year go, according to a report released by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Tourism Research Division.

The COVID-19 pandemic has all but halted travel to Hawai‘i. All passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling interisland during May were required to abide by a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Exemptions include travel for essential reasons like work or healthcare. In May, Gov. David Ige’s “Stay-at-Home” order transitioned to the “Safer-at-Home” order, then eventually the state entered the “Act with Care” phase. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also continued to enforce its “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships.

In May, a total of 9,116 visitors traveled to Hawai‘i by air service compared to 841,376 total visitors (by air and cruise ships) during the same period a year ago.  A total of 97,753 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in May, down 91.3% from a year ago. There were no direct flights or scheduled seats from US East, Japan, Canada, Oceania, and Other Asia, and very few scheduled seats from US West (-88.3%) and Other countries (-58.1%).

In the first five months of 2020, total visitor arrivals dropped 49.5% to 2,139,166 visitors, with significantly fewer arrivals by air service (-49.3% to 2,109,375) and by cruise ships (-60.7% to 29,792) compared to the same period a year ago. Total visitor days fell 46.3%.


Year-to-date, visitor arrivals by air service decreased from US West (-49.3% to 917,741), US East (-44.5% to 518,185), Japan (-51.6% to 294,255), Canada (-46.5% to 155,764) and All Other International Markets (-57.4% to 223,430).

Other Highlights:

US West: In May, 4,357 visitors arrived from the Pacific region compared to 292,106 visitors a year ago, and 1,443 visitors came from the Mountain region compared to 88,487 a year ago. Through the first five months of 2020, visitor arrivals declined substantially from both the Pacific (-50.5% to 693,435) and Mountain (-45.3% to 204,167) regions compared to the same period a year ago.


US East: Through the first five months of 2020, visitor arrivals dropped considerably from all regions. The three largest regions, East North Central (-43.7% to 109,887), South Atlantic (-50.6% to 94,545) and West North Central (-32.8% to 94,095) saw considerable decreases compared to the first five months of 2019.

Japan: In May, 14 visitors arrived from Japan compared to 113,218 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date, arrivals declined 51.6 percent to 294,255 visitors.

Canada: In May, 20 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 25,794 visitors a year ago. Year-to-date, arrivals dropped to 155,764 visitors (-46.5%).


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