Hawaii received some love from tourists over Valentine’s Day weekend, as arrivals to the state spiked by nearly 60% compared to the same period in previous months.
According to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, a total of 67,126 transpacific passengers visited the islands from Feb. 12-16, with a daily average of 13,425 arrivals. In comparison, the state averaged just 8,398 daily arrivals from Jan. 12-16 and 8,537 daily arrivals from Dec. 12-16.
Hawaii’s tourism industry has struggled during the ongoing pandemic, but the situation has been slowly improving since the state reopened to visitors in October.
Under the state’s Safe Travels program, all arriving passengers must obtain a negative COVID-19 test result from a trusted partner within 72 hours of travel. Individuals who fail to get properly tested must self-quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
Meanwhile, visitors to Kauai can avoid the island’s mandatory 10-day quarantine by presenting a pre-travel negative test result, isolating at a “resort bubble” for three days and then taking a second test.
Despite the pandemic, Hawaii has plenty of activities and sights to offer tourists.
Officials have been progressively reopening the state’s most popular attractions over the last few months. The USS Arizona Memorial, the Maui Ocean Center, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Hukilau Marketplace and Hawaii national parks are all open.
Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes that form Hawaii, also erupted in late December and is producing breathtaking lava flows for the first time since 2018.
These attractions, and others, seem to be keeping tourists happy. A recent HTA survey found that 85% of U.S. residents who visited the islands over the holidays had an “excellent” time despite coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Travelers eager to book a trip to Hawaii will soon have more direct flight options; United Airlines is adding three new nonstop routes to the islands in 2021.
Starting May 6, the airline will offer a direct flight from Orange County to Honolulu. The flight will run daily, departing Orange County at 8:30 a.m. and arriving in Honolulu at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Beginning June 3, United will offer a direct flight from Chicago to Kona. The flight will operate Thursday through Sunday, departing Chicago at 10:15 a.m. and arriving in Kona at 2:35 p.m. local time.
Also on June 3, the airline will begin flying nonstop from Newark to Kahului. The flight will run Thursday through Sunday, departing Newark at 8:10 a.m. and arriving in Kahului at 1:05 p.m. local time.
Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases have been steadily decreasing since mid-January. As of Feb. 15, the state was reporting an average of 47 new cases per day, which is down 46% from Feb. 2.
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