With the Hawaii Safe Travel program coming to an end in a few weeks, many say tourism in Hawaii is returning to how it was in 2019 prior to COVID19. While only the statistics for January of 2022 have been released they offer some really insightful details and may have indicators as to why the State of Hawaii is changing things in hopes of increasing tourism.
Tourism: January 2020 vs. January 2022
The overall tourism in the State of Hawaii in January 2022 was 33% less than January 2020. While January 2020 was one of the best months the State of Hawaii had seen and was the last full month prior to COVID19 beginning, we still see the disparity between tourism in 2022 and 2020 for the State of Hawaii.
The primary causes of this difference is the lack of international visitors, which the State of Hawaii saw close to a 90% decrease in in January 2022 opposed to January 2020. Obviously this is directly correlated to COVID19 and travel policies. Due to this being the number one differential between the two years, Oahu saw the largest decrease in tourism due to it being the most popular destination of the islands for international travelers.
While all the other islands did see a decrease in tourism, all the other islands saw an increase in the percentage of overall tourism with Maui leading the way. While the Big Island did not see as large of an increase percentage wise as a whole, the Kona side saw one of the largest increases in relation to other areas in Hawaii.
Accommodations: Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals
With international travel down as well as tourism on Oahu, the hotel industry has been the industry that has continued to be hit the hardest. We also saw a significant decrease in tourism related to conferences.
The vacation rental condos and vacation rental homes actually saw a 3% and 2% increase in the percentage of travelers choosing to stay in those properties. Timeshares also saw an increase. These increases are consistent to the trends we were seeing in 2019 and early 2020.
The vacation rental industry saw similar trends in February and March so we suspect that those months were the same. At the end of March Hawaii will end the Hawaii Safe Travels program as well as no longer require the wearing of masks. We are not sure how much of an immediate effect this will have on tourism, but it should have a positive effect in the ability to secure conferences in Hawaii in 2023.