Hawaii Vacation

Get Ready For Yet Another Dramatic Change In Hawaii Travel

Let’s be honest. The news from Hawaii is enough to make your head spin. It seems like one day, the governor and mayors are crying to stop all travel and then later worry about loss of income, followed by the cheapest Hawaii airfare deals ever. Whew! And now we see what appears to be a precipitous decline in Hawaii COVID cases and a welcome trend.

It’s certainly great news that Hawaii’s COVID cases are trending sharply downward, and now, predictions from the respected Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group (HIPAM) are suggesting it will continue on a downward trajectory. Previously, HIPAM predicted a massive increase in cases at least into October, which data may have been part of the governor’s toolset in suggesting visitors stay home through October. But now, that is all changing so rapidly it is hard to absorb.

“It can shift either way very quickly… “It seems that mitigations are doing their job, but the issue is that there are still a lot of people unvaccinated, and since we cannot eradicate the Delta once we reopen, it will have its course again. It is not a simple situation.” — HIPAM.

Behavior, vaccination, and the latest Hawaii vaccination passports for hotels and restaurants are all considered factors.

Hawaii boom will restart once the coast is clear.

The recent escalation in Delta Variant Covid cases put a massive dent in Hawaii travel. Other factors included the typical seasonal slowdown from the end of summer until the end of year holidays, not to mention the governor’s warning to pause Hawaii vacations.

Warning: The price of flights to Hawaii will start to trend up soon.

Yesterday’s $62 Hawaii deals are certainly not sustainable. And, while we see many opportunities for a great deal of short-term competition on Hawaii flights, that will eventually settle down, probably sooner than later. For those seeking the lowest airfares, buying soon should yield the best deals. That much is clear.

Swings are mind-boggling even for us.

Hawaii travel has swung back and forth so many times in the past six months or so that it can give us headaches. Hawaii went from record tourism in 2019 to virtually no tourism in 2020. Then this year’s epic rollercoaster started in March as extreme demand for Hawaii travel began. And it has been charging up and down since then.

The summer 2021 boom was beyond expectations.

Visitor arrivals this summer exceeded 30k a day. That came due to pent-up COVID travel demand, increased flights, reasonable prices on airfare, international travel woes, and the sense of safety for which Hawaii is known.

The onslaught of visitors after no visitors resulted in pushback from all the islands, with Maui’s mayor being perhaps the most outspoken about limiting travel to the islands. Kauai’s mayor wasn’t without words either.

Hawaii was unprepared for this summer’s tourism. The state’s infrastructure is lacking and seemingly never improving.

Then came Delta.

In hindsight, it appears we didn’t need to do anything to shut off the tourism tap. That was accomplished mainly by an unprecedented number of Covid cases that the US mainland and Hawaii were not prepared for. The state maintains that the dramatic increase was primarily due to travelers from Hawaii returning to the islands, especially those who were not tested and instead self-quarantined.

With fewer tourists came cries about loss of income.

The situation swung so far back towards little tourism that Maui’s mayor thenย  sounded an alarm: “I had a meeting with the hoteliers on Maui this morning and, as of date, 51,000 room nights have been canceled, $21.4 M loss in revenue and that’s Maui County only.” In June, on the other hand, it was Mayor Victorino who had called for “a pause” in Maui tourism.

Hawaii tourism today.

Hawaii daily arrivals have now dipped to under 20,000 as we enter the slower season. While not unusual for fall, it has been exacerbated by an unusually high cancellation rate state-wide.

We remain hopeful that Hawaii is coming around a curve on new Covid cases. And, the fact that California has the best Covid case numbers in the country doesn’t hurt either, given that California is where the most significant number of Hawaii visitors arrive from. What is certain nowadays, however, is that nothing is certain.

As of today, it seems highly likely that with the arrival of the Thanksgiving and, more importantly, Christmas/New Year holiday season, there will be another surge to the levels seen last summer. But is Hawaii ready for that?

Stay tuned.

54 thoughts on “Get Ready For Yet Another Dramatic Change In Hawaii Travel”

  1. Please Hawaii please test ALL travelers for a negative result 72 hours before departure Vaccinated or Not! Please!!

  2. Dear BOH Bros, I mailed the picture to you today so watch your mailbox for it. Let me know when you get it & have a blessed week!! ๐Ÿ˜‡

  3. I just want to thank yo guys for saving a lot of people a lot of head scratching including myself. Keep up the good work!

  4. Aloha. Can anyone help us figure this out? My daughter completed Safe Travels and even got the QR code for her flight tomorrow, but she still has to enter her 9 year-old son’s negative Covid test. Is this checked at the airport? Or will she get a 2nd QR code for him? Will he get the wristband at the airport to bypass the check in line on the island at the airport? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi JC.

      Someone else may comment with recent experience. We’d suggest you contact the State to inquire at the Safe Travel help desk at 855-599-0888.


      1. Your son’s information gets loaded with any ONE parent (only one parent claim the child) – the QR code embeds all under 18s in one QR code.

  5. I love all the Islands of Hawaii, but I will never go back. They have become all about money. You have to register to go to state and National Parks. You have to pay to park and then you have a certain amount of time you can stay. If you park they come yelling at you and tell you to get out. I thought this beauty was for tourists to enjoy. We also got caught up with Quarantine as they refused to honor our test even though it was our state approved test. They treat you like your a criminal, even put tracking on you, not to mention the cost. What a ripoff I hope Hawaii knows that they have pissed off many travelers, this was our sixth trip over and wonโ€™t go back. Did I forget to mention we were fully vaccinated!

    1. Those in the travel industry want us to come back, but those of us who have experienced the feeling of “you are not welcome here” from other locals are in no hurry to go back.

  6. Hi. Having problems subscribing, I keep getting โ€œoops something went wrongโ€ messages. Any suggestions? Thanks

  7. I would purchase flights for trips next May 2022, July 2022, and August 2022 right now to Kauai, Maui, and Kauai, respectively, but the flights I see for then are quite high from the Midwest. Fares seem to be cheaper 30-60 days in advance for me, but I admit I am limiting myself to United flights.

    Are these deals mainly on flights to Hawaii from the West Coast?

    I have everything else in place, accommodations, vaccinations, and rental cars for all three trips. I got my rental cars the first day I could thanks to your sage advice, BOH, and am already over $1,000 ahead on those rentals.

    Also, I have been hearing negative Covid tests may soon be required on flights for all passengers, including those who are vaccinated. Have you guys heard anything along those lines recently? I hope not, that would impact my plans.

    1. Hi Jake.

      Thanks. No word on if travel tests could or would be implemented for all passengers. Yes, the competition is primarily from the west coast which is why the deals are found there. There is little competition from the midwest, so you can’t expect great prices unless someone else enters that sphere.


    2. Dear Jake, I hope that you have a fun & safe trip whenever you do go! ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ›ฉ๐ŸŒบโค๐Ÿ๐Ÿฅฅ๐Ÿ๐Ÿฉด๐Ÿข๐Ÿ ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ•ถ be blessed….psalms 91:11๐Ÿ˜‡

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