As COVID restrictions ease, spring breakers eye Hawaii as their next destination

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – With many COVID restrictions coming to an end, travel experts said it…

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – With many COVID restrictions coming to an end, travel experts said it makes Hawaii an even more desirable location.

Jerry Agrusa, professor of the University of Hawaii’s Travel Industry Management School, said about 30,000 tourists are flying into to Hawaii a day.

He adds that the load factor of the planes are running in the high 90s.

“That means, all the planes coming in from the west coast, with the addition of Southwest Airlines adding flights, Alaska Airlines, as well as Hawaiian, United, American — they’re all coming in full,” said Agrusa.

Many parts of the mainland go on spring break in the next two weeks and Agrusa said businesses are going to get very busy.

He advises visitors to make reservations now as some hotels are already booked and there is still a rental car shortage.

“So outer island, you’re probably not going to be able to get a car,” Agrusa said. “But here, you could still probably get one, but you’ll pay a very super premium, not just premium prices, but super premium because of the shortage.”

Business is picking up at Chart House Waikiki who’s also encouraging reservations in advance.

“So, we’re booked up in advance on Open Table, but you can also call, and you can also walk in anytime,” said Yana Cabell of Chart House Waikiki.

They’re excited about it being the last day of checking for customers’ vaccination cards or a negative test result taken within 48 hours.

“So that’s a good thing,” said co-owner of Chart House Waikiki, Joey Cabell. “It’s a win.”

They’ve been preparing their staff for the spring break rush.

“Beefing up our staff so that we could be prepared for our already busy environment,” said Yana.

And while Safe Travels will be expiring March 25 for domestic travelers, Chart House Waikiki and retailers say they’re looking forward to seeing international visitors.

“They were a third of our business before, we had Japanese interpreters so we’re really looking forward to the Japanese coming back,” said Joey.

“I mean, the Asian visitors, especially in the resort areas, they’re highly dependent on them,” said president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Tina Yamaki. “Because they’re the ones who spend the money.”

“They’re the ones who purchase things so we haven’t seen them come back yet and a lot of our businesses are suffering because of that.”

“The challenge there is the restrictions when they go home, so they have to lower their restrictions,” said Agrusa.

And for countries like Japan, there’s still no clear picture on when that will happen.

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