Hawaii Tourism Statistics: December 2022

The State of Hawai’i continues to track its tourism recovery since the COVID-19 pandemic started in late 2019. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) stated that 871,870 visitors traveled to the Hawaiian Islands in December 2022. This figure is significant in that it resembles a 91.5 percent recovery when comparing arrival numbers from December 2019. Not only did Hawaii see a spike in visitor arrivals, but visitors also spent more money during their trip by 8.2 percent, $1.90 billion in December 2022, compared to $1.75 billion in December 2019. During the pandemic and for a while afterward, cruise ships worldwide saw a steady decline in patrons.

Prior to the pandemic, Hawaii was a heavily desired destination for cruise lines which increased visitor arrivals and contributed to Hawaii’s economy. During the month of December 2022, Hawaii saw a decrease in airline arrivals and a significant recovery rate of 21.6 percent or 13,761 for visitors arriving by cruise ships compared to 11,313 cruise line visitors in December 2019. Statistics show that more arrivals are occurring, and visitors are staying longer, with an average of 9.49 days in December 2022 and 9.27 days in December 2019, representing a 2.4 percent increase. Visitors from the West United States spent an increased daily amount of $226 per person, which is a significant increase from December 2019, in which visitors were spending $180 per person, representing a 25.4 percent increase. In the entirety of 2022, the islands experienced an 89 percent recovery in arrivals from 10,386,673 in 2019 and 9,247,848 in 2022. Although the arrivals have not recovered 100 percent, the total visitor spending was up 8.9 percent from $17.72 billion in 2019 to $19.29 billion in 2022. It is safe to assume that the discrepancy between visitors and the amount they spend during their vacation is due to inflated costs as well as peak tourism months. Traveling to Hawaii during peak seasons, such as holidays and school breaks, heavily contributes to high travel and lodging prices.

Inflation has been rampant since the beginning of the pandemic and has affected all aspects of vacationing in the state, such as airfare, lodging, car rentals, excursions, dining, etc. As businesses continue to get back to their pre-pandemic revenue, they have increased their rates in order to survive. Combining inflation from the pandemic with visitors traveling during the peak tourism season when rates are already high can lead to a costly trip. Hawaii is excited to see our recovery rates continue to increase throughout the new year and looks forward to serving our tourism industry.