Hawaii’s tourism industry continues to show signs of recovery in March, with arrivals in the state reaching their highest levels in almost a year.
On March 13, around 26,400 transpacific travelers and between islands were selected by Hawaii’s Safe Travels program, a single-day record since the pandemic began. Of these travelers, approximately 18,700 came to the state for vacation or leisure, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The numbers put Hawaii on the road to reaching pre-pandemic tourism levels, which were around 30,000 arrivals a day, in the near future.
Most experts predicted that it would take years for the state’s tourism industry to fully recover, but spring break, rising vaccinations on the American continent and pent-up demand for travel are fueling a faster return.
Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said Hawaii News Now that a mix of visitors was in the state in March.
“I checked with our hotels and partners,” explained Hanneman. “They said they are seeing all this, the budget-minded traveler who wants to come and bring his family, young adults who are on spring break who want to come to a place where they can have fun in a safe and healthy way and those who can afford to come to Hawaii and stay at the resort.”
Some tourists are also impressed by the state’s travel restrictions, which have kept coronavirus infections on the islands relatively low.
“I feel very good about traveling here,” Jackie Bornstein, a vaccinated visitor from Los Angeles, told the Associated Press. “[Hawaii is] be very aware of having people tested or, if they have not been tested, having to quarantine them. ”
Bornstein, who arrived in Honolulu on March 15, said he was on vacation in Hawaii for eight days and that he planned to return. She also confessed that she did not feel so safe visiting other states.
“I have a son who lives in Texas,” she said. “I don’t feel so comfortable going there where there are no masks.”
If vaccinations on the American continent and Hawaii continue smoothly, state officials plan to start a vaccination passport program as early as May. Under the plan, inoculated visitors could avoid most of the state’s travel restrictions, including pre-tests and quarantine requirements.
As spring approaches, travel is steadily increasing in the United States. According to the Transportation Security Administration, nearly 1.36 million people passed through American airport checkpoints on March 12, making it the busiest screening day since March 15, 2020.
On the same day, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the United States administered more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, while vaccination numbers are encouraging, the CDC is urging Americans to be careful when traveling.
“We saw images of people enjoying the spring break festivities, without a mask,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a meeting at the White House. “All of this in the context of still 50,000 cases per day. I am begging for the sake of our nation’s health. ”