Covid restrictions aren't spoiling Hawaii vacations, study finds

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The beach at Waikiki.
The beach at Waikiki.

A survey of visitors to Hawaii conducted over the Christmas/New Year holiday period revealed an overwhelming majority were satisfied with their trips despite restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Visitor Covid-19 Study surveyed visitors from the U.S. mainland who visited Hawaii in the first two weeks of December to gauge their experience with Hawaii's Safe Travels pretravel testing program and overall trip satisfaction.

Despite business closures, limited activities and needing a negative result on an approved Covid-19 test prior to departure, 85% of respondents rated their trip excellent, and 94% said their trip either met or exceeded their expectations.

Nearly eight in 10 (79%) respondents 9% reported their pretravel testing was executed without any hiccups. Among those who said they did experience issues with the testing process, 46% said they believed the 72-hour testing window was too short, 37% struggled to find a state-approved testing partner, and 15% said their test results did not arrive in time. Fewer than 1% of respondents said they were unaware of the state's pretravel testing protocols prior to arrival.

Nearly all of the respondents were aware prior to arriving in the Aloha State of local government mandates in place to prevent the spread of the virus and limited availability or capacity of visitor amenities.

Younger visitors were most likely to say their trip surpassed what they had hoped for, with six out of 10 visitors under the age of 35 saying their Islands vacation exceeded expectations. With each increasing age group, the proportion of respondents who said their Hawaii trip exceeded expectations decreased; in those 65 and older, just 18% said the experience exceeded their expectations.

HTA's Tourism Research Division partnered with Anthology Research to conduct the online survey from December 21 to Jan. 4. There were 495 responses and a plus or minus 4.4 point margin of error.

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