DBEDT News Release: Visitor Spending for October 2021 Down 15.3 Percent from Pre-Pandemic October 2019Posted on Nov 29, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom
HONOLULU – According to preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), total spending by visitors who came to the islands in October 2021 was $1.12 billion.
Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic and Hawai‘i’s quarantine requirements for travelers, the State of Hawai‘i achieved record-level visitor expenditures and arrivals in 2019 and in the first two months of 2020. Comparative October 2020 visitor spending statistics were not available as the Departure Survey could not be conducted last October due to COVID-19 restrictions. October 2021 visitor spending was lower compared to the $1.33 billion (-15.3%) reported for October 2019.
A total of 550,781 visitors arrived by air service to the Hawaiian Islands in October 2021, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East. In comparison, 76,691 visitors (+618.2%) arrived by air in October 2020 and 796,191 visitors (-30.8%) arrived by air and by cruise ships in October 2019.
Gov. Ige called upon Hawai‘i residents and visitors on August 23 to delay all non-essential travel due to the accelerated surge in new COVID-19 cases and to not overburden the state’s healthcare facilities and resources until the end of October. Passengers arriving from out-of-state could bypass the State’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine in October 2021 if they were fully vaccinated in the United States or with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner prior to their departure through the Safe Travels program. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to enforce 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 164,454 visitors in October 2021, compared to 39,432 in October 2020, versus 215,125 in October 2019.
In October 2021, 364,687 visitors arrived from the U.S. West, well above the 53,452 visitors (+582.3%) in October 2020 and exceeding the October 2019 count of 354,007 visitors (+3.0%). U.S. West visitors spent $687.3 million in October 2021, which surpassed the $538.7 million (+27.6%) spent in October 2019. Much higher average daily visitor spending ($214 per person, +20.5) and a longer length of stay (8.81 days, +2.8%) also contributed to increased U.S. West visitor expenditures compared to October 2019.
There were 157,003 visitors from the U.S. East in October 2021, compared to 19,600 visitors (+701.0%) in October 2020, and 148,075 visitors (+6.0%) in October 2019. U.S. East visitors spent $360.6 million in October 2021 compared to $301.2 million (+19.7%) in October 2019. Higher average daily visitor spending ($240 per person, +9.8%) and a longer length of stay (9.56 days, +2.9%) contributed to the growth in U.S. East visitor expenditures.
There were 2,155 visitors from Japan in October 2021, compared to 161 visitors (+1,237.6%) in October 2020, versus 134,557 visitors (-98.4%) in October 2019. Visitors from Japan spent $6.9 million in October 2021 compared to $195.7 million (-96.5%) in October 2019.
In October 2021, 9,657 visitors arrived from Canada, compared to 389 visitors (+2,381.3%) in October 2020, versus 32,250 visitors (-70.1%) in October 2019. Visitors from Canada spent $30.3 million in October 2021 compared to $63.0 million (-51.9%) in October 2019.
There were 17,279 visitors from All Other International Markets in October 2021. These visitors were from Other Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania, Guam, Philippines, and Pacific Islands. In comparison, there were 3,088 visitors (+459.5%) from All Other International Markets in October 2020, versus 106,786 visitors (-83.8%) in October 2019.
In October 2021, a total of 4,899 trans-Pacific flights and 1,011,933 seats served the Hawaiian Islands, compared to only 1,081 flights and 223,353 seats in October 2020, versus 4,807 flights and 1,063,333 seats in October 2019.
Through the first 10 months of 2021, total visitor spending was $10.16 billion. This was a 30.6 percent decline from the $14.63 billion spent through the first 10 months of 2019.
A total of 5,410,436 visitors (+136.5%) arrived in the first 10 months of 2021, more than double the arrival count from a year ago. Total visitor arrivals decreased 37.3 percent compared to the 8,625,156 visitors in the first 10 months of 2019.
Statement by DBEDT Director Mike McCartney:
Although we are 37 percent below 2019 levels, we are now on pace to end 2021 ahead of DBEDT’s third quarter economic forecast of 6.8 million visitor arrivals and $12.2 billion in visitor spending due to a strong US leisure market. Hawai‘i’s visitor economy is doing better than expected and is open for business.
We will also be starting 2022 with additional momentum with the return of international travelers and opening of the indoor Meetings, Convention, and Incentive (MCI) market. Hawai‘i’s future outlook remains positive and we can expect continued economic growth and prosperity provided we remain focused on public health and safety measures to prevent and manage outbreaks of COVID-19 within our island communities.
Statement by HTA President and CEO John De Fries:
The statistics we saw for October 2021 demonstrate continued strength in domestic demand for travel to the Hawaiian Islands, and we expect to see demand grow in international markets with the new streamlined federal requirements for vaccinated travelers entering the U.S., and as nations around the world begin to modify their COVID-related restrictions. The growth in demand is encouraging for our economy and a credit to the people of Hawaiʻi who have been diligent in keeping our community safe and healthy, and keeping the spirit of aloha alive.
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Director of Tourism Research
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
 Comparative October 2020 and year-to-date October 2020 visitor spending statistics were not available, as there was no Departure Survey fielding between April through October 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
 Average daily census measures the number of visitors present on any given day.