Tourism Returning to Hawaii

by Jan Frazier

Honolulu, Hawaii (Washington Insider Magazine) With more people having gotten vaccinated and travel restrictions being less, Honolulu is showing signs of recovering. Tourists are returning. Hawaii’s restaurants and hotel beds are starting to recover, and the islands are beginning to feel a difference as the rollout of the vaccines have increased. 

Waikiki Beach is crowded with sunbathers and surfers. “Farther north, families with toddlers are playing on the shoreline at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.” Long lines are starting to appear at restaurants and clubs.  

According to the hotel data tracker, STR, hotels’ occupancies reached 49 percent in late April. “That is still below the 57 percent occupancy level nationwide,” said STR. It seems that Hawaii has recovered less quickly than some of the mainland’s tourist cities. 

It seems that one big reason for the slow return of tourism is that the Japanese have not yet started to travel. They are a huge source of Hawaii’s income. 

In April 2020, Hawaii had only 12 percent occupancy in the hotels, so they are happy and grateful for the 49 percent capacity rate for the hotels this April. 

The local people of Honolulu are aware of the fact that tourism is increasing. Austin Bunag, a resident in Honolulu, recently said, “Earlier in the pandemic, I used to be able to find street parking in Waikiki. Now it’s getting difficult with more mainland tourists coming back.”

The number of rental cars is becoming low. They actually had to sell “a portion of their fleet to raise money during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Hawaii actually imposed fairly strict Covid-19 restrictions last year, and this seemed to help their positivity rate stay at half the national average. However, Hawaii also attempted to dissuade tourists from coming to the islands. 

At the start of the pandemic, Hawaii insisted on a 14-day quarantine period if you entered the state; however, now the quarantine is lifted if the tourist tests negative for Covid-19. 

Jamerio Eubanks, a New Jersey resident, stated, “We didn’t think we could come, but once we were fully vaccinated and the restrictions were lifted, we decided it’s safe enough.” Eubanks was a visitor for six days to celebrate a birthday.


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