The Hawai´i Tourism Authority (HTA) released the results of its latest special tracking study, which surveyed visitors from the Continental US who visited Hawai´i from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5, 2021, to gauge their experience with Hawai´i’s Safe Travels program and overall trip satisfaction.
This is the fourth and final visitor survey in a series that started at the end of last year.
Nearly all (94%) of the visitors who were polled in this latest study were fully vaccinated, with one in three travelers indicating they had postponed their trip to Hawai´i or waited to visit until the vaccination exemption was in place.
Repeat visitors were more likely to be fully vaccinated and the likelihood of being fully vaccinated increased with age.
Most visitors (81%) rated their trip as “Excellent.” Visitor satisfaction has remained relatively stable over the course of the year with a slight dip in the prior survey conducted in June 2021.
When respondents who rated their trip as “Above Average” or less were asked what would have needed to change about their trip in order to rate their trip as “Excellent,” visitors cited fewer COVID restrictions (32%) followed by enforcing COVID rules (12%).
“We appreciate our visitors who understand the importance of Hawai´i’s restrictions related to COVID safety, which will continue to open up as the pandemic continues to trend the right way thanks to the continued vigilance of our community,” said John De Fries, HTA’s president and CEO.
Of the repeat visitors who had also previously traveled to Hawai´i in February 2020 or earlier, which was prior to the state’s implementation of COVID restrictions, 38 percent indicated their current trip was less satisfying. The primary reason cited for this was too many COVID restrictions (65%) and limited availability or capacity of restaurants, attractions and lodging. However, 90 percent of visitors said they were able to do all or most of the activities they had planned.
The survey also revealed that younger travelers, classified as those under the age of 35, were the most likely to feel that their trip exceeded their expectations.
De Fries added, “The great experience a visitor has in Hawai´i is a direct result of the hard work of our residents working in the visitor industry, caring for our guests from the airport to the hotel, at attractions, restaurants, shopping centers, activities and beyond.”
When asked about their experience, nearly all (98%) respondents rated the friendliness of workers and residents as “Excellent” or “Above Average.” Most visitors also rated their hotel (or place of lodging) as excellent (82%).
During October 2021, the state’s Safe Travels program allowed most passengers arriving from out-of-state to bypass the mandatory 10-day self-quarantine if they were fully vaccinated in the US or with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner. The majority of visitors (81%) stated they didn’t have any issues with the Safe Travels website or process.
Before arriving in Hawai´i, nearly all visitors (98%) were aware that government mandates were in place, such as mask wearing in some instances, social distancing, and avoiding congregating in large groups.
The majority (70%) of respondents said they will visit Hawai´i again regardless of the pre-visit requirements. Of the remaining 30 percent of respondents, 18 percent said they will visit again when the pandemic is over and most or all of the COVID mandates such as business or attraction restrictions are removed, 8 percent said they have no plans to return to Hawaii, and 4 percent said they will visit again when there is no pre-visit COVID testing requirement.
Anthology Research conducted the online survey for the Hawai´i Tourism Authority between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20, 2021, as part of the contract for the Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Study. The results of the Oct. 2021 Visitor COVID-19 Study were presented during HTA’s Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 28, 2021.
The results of all four visitor COVID-19 special studies are available on HTA’s website.