Hawaii News Record-tying Hawaii visitor arrivals forecast for 2025 By Dan Nakaso email@example.com March 2, 2022 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Hawaii is expected to tie a record-high 10.4 million visitor arrivals just five years after COVID-19 decimated the islands’ tourism-based economy in 2020, according to the state’s latest economic forecast, released Tuesday. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Hawaii is expected to tie a record-high 10.4 million visitor arrivals just five years after COVID-19 decimated the islands’ tourism-based economy in 2020, according to the state’s latest economic forecast, released Tuesday. The report by the Research and Economic Analysis Division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism shows that Hawaii’s economy continues to outperform expectations as tourism rebounds faster than predicted. However, uncertainties loom, including the war in Ukraine, inflation and potential effects of future COVID-19 variants. Hawaii reached a new visitor arrivals record in 2019, but only 2.7 million came in 2020. Visitor arrivals increased to nearly 6.8 million in 2021, and DBEDT has predicted 8.86 million visitors this year. The department’s latest forecast calls for 9 million visitor arrivals in 2022, 9.7 million in 2023, 10 million in 2024 and 10.4 million in 2025, matching the pre-pandemic record. The continuing rise in visitor arrivals, tourist spending and increasing tax revenues has led to both positive and negative economic numbers. According to the DBEDT: >> Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment fell to 5.7% in December, compared with 10.3% in December 2020. >> In December the 610,350 people employed as payroll employees or self-employed were the most since March 2020. >> In 2019, before the pandemic, initial unemployment claims averaged 1,200 per week. During the week that ended Feb. 19, there were 1,414 initial unemployment claims. DBEDT said Hawaii’s “declining labor force participation rate is a sign of just how tight the labor market is and indicates a labor shortage.” >> Prices in Honolulu rose 6% in January over the preceding 12 months, the highest since 1991 when the annual rate was 7.2%. The increase in inflation was partly driven by energy prices, which have seen a 32.2% increase in gasoline costs. DBEDT warned that Russia’s attack on Ukraine could raise island gas prices further and also increase the rate of inflation. >> Hawaii imported 6.2 million barrels of crude oil from Russia during the first 11 months of 2021, accounting for 26.6% of foreign petroleum imports. >> Bankruptcy filings fell 22.3% in 2021, for a total of 1,184. In January the number of bankruptcy filings dropped to 70, a record low since February 2006. >> In 2021, 25,970 homes were sold across the state, the highest number since home sales were first counted in 2008. Of the homes sold last year, 46.4% were single-family and 53.6% were condos. >> An overwhelming number of homes — 75.8%, or 19,696 units — were bought by local buyers; 24.2%, or 6,274 units, were sold to out-of-state buyers. >> The average 2021 price for a single-family home was $1,053,819 — a 32.3% increase from 2019 and a 26.3% increase from 2020. The average price for condos was $672,793, an increase of 18.6% from 2019 and 13.3% from 2020. >> Hawaii’s economic growth rate, as measured by real domestic product, is forecast to grow 3.2% in 2022, followed by a 2.5% increase in 2023, 2.3% in 2024 and 2% in 2025. >> Unemployment insurance and federal CARES Act funds temporarily caused personal income to surge. But as the support wound down in 2021, personal income is expected to fall 1.7% in 2022. >> As measured by the Honolulu Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, inflation is expected to increase in 2022 to 4.8%, compared with the projected U.S. consumer inflation rate of 5%. “Hawaii’s economic recovery has been gaining momentum as we enter the last month of the first quarter of 2022,” DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said in a statement. “Global supply chain disruptions and increasing oil and energy prices due to the war between Russia and Ukraine may impact our economy, especially the airlift and demand for travel. … “This new challenge is an opportunity for Hawaii to double down on our unified efforts to accelerate our conversion to clean energy and build a new economy that goes beyond net zero emissions. … I remain positive about being able to improve the economic prosperity for all of Hawaii’s citizens because of their commitment to be safe, resilient, innovative, patient and to persevere.” Previous Story On the Move: Rob Stafford, Michael Ortiz and Edmund Farm Next Story Promised Land: Native Hawaiians waited years for homes on their ancestral land. Then the problems began.