With tourism reopening in October 2020 we have begun to see some new trends in tourism to the Hawaiian Islands.
With the State requiring negative COVID tests from a trusted partner prior to arriving as well as a negative COVID test after arrival tourism was still slow after reopening. After a few months it has shown that people are starting to look past the COVID testing procedure and begin to see Hawaii as a safe vacation destination as the COVID cases are among the lowest in the United States.
What we have seen as a company in the first few months of 2021 provided some interesting new trends. Once the State of Hawaii released travel data for January it matched what we were seeing.
For the big picture, tourism is still down about 75% from pre-COVID, but that percentage is diminishing by the month. Obviously the cruise travel is still down 100% and the Asian travel is down over 90%. On the positive side, traditionally this does not have anything to do with vacation rentals.
Due to the lack of “big city” feel, the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui are fairing the best. Due to more strict COVID policies in place, Kauai is doing the worst.
While the data is not specific as to who is traveling, it seems to be obvious. The “snow birds” from the west coast are still coming out and staying for long periods of times. The 30-40 year old families are the largest increase if the children can attend school and the parents can continue to work from Hawaii. With spring break and the summer coming up, we see those times almost as busy as they were pre COVID. This is primarily because it is that younger group of people traveling during those times.
On the even more positive side, vacation rentals are becoming more and more desirable due to COVID. They give you the opportunity to stay in Hawaii and still be able to minimize your contact with people. Within vacation rentals, private homes have shown to have the greatest demand regardless of price. Our private homes are all looking to have record breaking years in 2021.
While we are not back to where we were in 2019, things are definitely looking in the positive direction and 2022 it appears we could be very close to “back to normal”.