Big change as Hawaii tourism boom crushes neighboring islands +21%
As we reviewed the dramatic growth in Hawaii tourism this summer, we were surprised at how popular the neighboring islands have become compared to Honolulu. Read on to find out what this means for your next Hawaii vacation and how to deal with it. In fact, domestic visitor arrivals to a neighboring island increased by just 21% compared to the same pre-Covid period.
TSA reported about summer tourism in general and explained what is also taken for granted here in Hawaii. Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said last Friday that the TSA “the highest checkpoint volume since February 11, 2020.” In total, they screened almost 2.5 million passengers. She said, “Come to the airport early, it’s busy!”
This was also confirmed to us Hawaiian Airlines Narrator Alex DaSilva, who told us: “The only constant this summer is the volume of travel (total congestion at the airport).”
The state of Hawaii agrees and says that “Tourist recreation continuesemployment has increased and … labor shortages have put some limits on growth.”
Hawaii visitors are switching to lower-density experiences on neighboring islands.
Already this spring, the State data stated that the recovery “was robust especially on the neighboring islands.” This trend is continuing and even accelerating.
Big Island, Kauai, and Maui have all pulled Honolulu well ahead of Honolulu in domestic visitor growth since the state’s last April record. Back then, Maui was ahead at +3%, Big Island at +8% and Kauai at +9%. That has changed significantly since then, as you will see below.
Domestic visitors from Honolulu arrive in June 2022. Unchanged.
So far this month (to June 26), 375,863 domestic visitors have arrived. This compared to virtually the same number in 2019, which was 375,659.
Domestic visitor arrivals from Maui in June 2022. +7%.
This month (ending June 26) 216,298 domestic passengers arrived on Maui. That compared to 203,018 in June 2019.
Arrivals of domestic visitors from Kauai in June 2022. +21%.
To date (until June 26), there were 79,628 domestic passenger arrivals in June. That compared to 65,586 in 2019.
Domestic visitor arrivals on Big Island in June 2022 +19%.
In the first 26 days of June, there were 106,323 domestic passenger arrivals. In 2019 there were 89,321.
What you can do against traffic jams.
Above all, take a deep breath as you visit Hawaii this summer and hope things go smoothly. Given the continued delays of Hawaii flights and some cancellations.
This summer, especially on neighboring islands, brace yourself for more traffic, lack of availability, queues and busy beaches. plan ahead. Keep in mind that there will be more going on than our limited resources can accommodate, so please be patient and practice aloha.
Prepare for traffic jams. It can take hours to get from one side of an island to the other. Plan accordingly and check maps before heading out. Please allow extra time to reach your destinations undisturbed and stay in the holiday spirit.
The labor shortage continues to frustrate everyone. If there are more than enough customers but insufficient staff, waiting times can be longer.
And a new phenomenon: rapidly changing business hours in Hawaii.
We looked at the labor shortages in hotels, restaurants, and activity providers in Hawaii. In the last few months we have experienced something different. We show up at or drive past a Hawaiian restaurant or coffee bar to find that they’re suddenly closed during their otherwise normal business hours. It seems that as staff availability changes rapidly, these businesses are quick to put up handcrafted signs in windows and change hours to accommodate accommodations. We’ve seen this in both chain restaurants and local restaurants. Keep that in mind and welcome to the new normal.
What has been your recent Hawaii vacation experience?