Hawaii sees tourism return as pandemic concerns ease

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s tourism industry is starting to see a rebound as people return to travel and coronavirus concerns ease.

Data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism shows domestic arrivals in March were comparable to 2019 levels, Hawaii News Now reported Friday.

A record 10 million people arrived in the state in 2019.

When the pandemic hit, Hawaii was the only state in the country to require negative COVID tests or vaccinations to avoid quarantine, effectively shutting down tourism for most of 2020 and much of 2021.

The new numbers still show little tourism from Japan, one of Hawaii’s biggest markets.


“We know there’s pent-up demand,” said Mufi Hannemann of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “People want to be able to travel because they’re locked down.”

High demand is met by limited supply from Hawaii, driving up costs.

“Normally there would be a lot more inventory available,” said Bruce Fisher of Hawaii Aloha Travel. “And now they’re asking high prices for the same thing that you would have gotten much cheaper before.”

Gasoline prices for planes and rental cars are also high, increasing costs for potential tourists.

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