The tourism sector can expect a rebound as Japanese officials start to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the nation. However, the industry leaders do anticipate the return of Japanese travelers will be a gradual one. Therefore, it will be some time before Hawaii’s economy sees the positive impacts.
Tourism Sector – Visitors Dropped
The number of Japanese visitors in Hawaii has plunged more than 80 percent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Asia travel sector will slowly get back to full steam, according to tourism experts. It was once the driving force of Hawaii’s tourism field.
Moreover, Japanese visitors used to account for about 15% of Hawaii’s annual visitor count. However, the average Japanese tourist did spend 25 percent more per day than the average mainland tourist.
“In fact, I do know there is pent-up demand for travel. Moreover, we have been speaking with some of the travel writers there and some of the wholesalers. I think they just want to make sure they do it correctly,” said Keith Vieira of hospitality consulting firm KV & Associates.
Travelling to Hawaii Again
In Japan, Vieira said many tourism leaders are waiting for the governor to tell the public that it’s okay to travel to Hawaii again. This is after he told travelers to postpone their trips back in August.
“Moreover, the sooner we can tell people it’s safe to be in Hawaii, it will be better,” added Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
“In fact, we all know now the risk is low. Thus, we have seen our hospitals drop 60 percent. Then we have seen our case counts drop 75 percent from the peak.”
Japanese visitors have to quarantine for 14 days when they return home right now. However, the tourism experts do say they expect that the Japanese government is going to eventually reduce if not eliminate that restriction.
The state should also pursue other strategies, Green thinks.
“Moreover, I think it would be great to have a bubble with Japan. Then, I know the governor talked about it in the past. However, now is the time to implement it,” Green said.