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Visitor spending decreased in July

HONOLULU — According to preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) total spending by visitors arriving in July 2021 was $1.58 billion.

“These record numbers were aided by pent-up consumer demand, an excess supply of aircraft, limited choices for international summer travel and an influx of federal stimulus money,” DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said in a release. “The overall rate of recovery in July was at 88% with very limited international arrivals (2%).”

Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic and Hawai‘i’s quarantine requirement for travelers, the Hawaiian Islands experienced record-level visitor expenditures and arrivals in 2019 and in the first two months of 2020.

Comparative, July 2020 visitor spending statistics were not available as there was no Departure Survey fielding between April through October 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Visitor spending decreased compared to $1.70 billion (-6.8%) in July 2019.

A total of 879,551 visitors arrived by air service to the Hawaiian Islands in July 2021, primarily from the U.S. West and U.S. East. Only 22,562 visitors (+3,798.4%) arrived by air in July 2020. Visitor arrivals in July 2021 declined from the July 2019 count of 995,210 visitors (-11.6%).

During July 2021, most passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county could bypass the State’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner prior to their departure to Hawai‘i through the Safe Travels program. In addition, individuals who were fully vaccinated in the United States could bypass the quarantine order beginning July 8. There were no inter-county travel restrictions in July.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enforced restrictions on cruise ships through a “Conditional Sail Order”, a phased approach for the resumption of passenger cruises to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 onboard.

The average daily census was 265,392 visitors in July 2021, compared to 17,970 in July 2020, versus 286,419 in July 2019.

“As we complete the high summer season and enter the slower fall season we will experience a natural decline in arrivals from the US market during this traditional shoulder period,” McCartney said. “During this time, we have no new projected international arrivals, so it is expected to be slower than normal for the overall market. The market is also anticipated to be softer as we see a decline in the future booking pace due to the uncertainty created around the COVID-19 delta variant. We expect arrivals to slow in both September and October starting after the Labor Day weekend. Arrivals could dip between a range of 50% to 70% of the 2019 level.”

McCartney said that if the state can “contain and effectively control the spread of the delta variant” there may be a strong comeback in mid-November through early next year.
Source: The Garden Island

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