Rising visitor numbers during spring break are a sign that the tourism industry is on the mend

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) — Hawaii has seen a significant increase in visitor numbers over the past two weekends. They’re not pre-pandemic tourism numbers, but experts say they bode well.

“You can see when you go to Waikiki, you can feel the energy,” said Jerry Agrusa, a professor in the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii at the Manoa Shidler College of Business.

“And there was no place on the beach to sit with your towel. And as soon as you know the sun is going down, you see the lines at the restaurants.”

On Saturday, the state saw nearly 24,000 transpacific travelers, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The numbers on Saturday and Sunday also reached more than 20,000.

Experts say the influx appears to be the start of a tourist recovery.

And that could mean jobs becoming vacant.

Agrusa said one of the biggest restrictions holding Hawaii’s travel industry back is those imposed on international markets.

Europe is in its third wave of the virus, and if visitors from Japan want to travel to Japan, there are still many obstacles such as: B. expensive COVID tests.

Lt. gov. Josh Green said the state is working on a vaccination pass program that could be implemented in mid-May.

“We have a lot of partners coming together right now,” Green said. “It’s quite a complicated process to be able to access databases to confirm that someone has completed their vaccine.”

Green is also pushing to lift inter-island travel restrictions by mid-April as positivity rates have been fairly consistent across counties.

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