October was the best month for visitors since March; however, the start of the state’s pre-arrivals testing program only helped return about 10% of Hawaii’s pre-coronavirus arrivals.
Only 76,613 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air service in October as compared to 796,191 visitors who came by air service and cruise ships in October 2019, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division.
October’s numbers brought the count of visitors in the first 10 months to 2,296,622, which was down 73.4% from the prior year.
Tourism in October was decimated by the quarantine, but also by other government lockdowns and fear of COVID-19. Some of the same factors that dropped visitor arrivals to 4,564 in April and just 9,116 remained in October.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to enforce the “No Sail Order” on all cruise ships in October so all visitors that came to Hawaii traveled by air.The County of Maui also issued a stay-at-home order for all individuals on Lanai that began on October 27.
However, Starting Oct. 15, travelers who took an approved test from an a one of Hawaii’s approved testing partners within 72 hours of the final leg of their trip were able to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine, which has been in place since March 26.
As many as 72,978 of Hawaii’s October visitors came from the U.S. West, the state’s top tourism source market, and the U.S. East, the second largest provider of visitors to Hawaii. Some 183 visitors came from Japan, which has only been able to participate in Hawaii’s travel testing program since Nov. 6. Only 389 visitors came from Canada, which beginning mid- beginning in mid-December may bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from labs identified by Air Canada and WestJet.
Another 3,064 visitors came from the category all other international markets, which includes all nations except Japan and Canada.
There was an overabundance of airline seats in October to visitors, although some airlines also flew at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 safety precautions such as blocking the middle seat.
Carriers made 223,353 trans-Pacific air seats available to service the Hawaiian Islands in October, some of the seats were likely in the market before the state pushed back the start of Hawaii’s pre-arrivals testing program from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15.