Following the eruption of the Kilauea volcano on May 3,
international flight bookings to Hawaii (not including the U.S.) were down
nearly 10%, according to flight analysis firm ForwardKeys.
ForwardKeys reported Tuesday that international flight
bookings to Hawaii for the period of May 3 to May 31 fell 9.8%, with Canada
down 23.2%, Australia down 32.2%, China down 39.8%, Germany down 47.7% and New
Zealand down 27.5%. The one source market that bucked the trend was Japan, from
where bookings to Hawaii were up 10.6% during the same period.
"Normally, the Japanese market is super-sensitive to
crisis situations and it is the first to cancel when any form of trouble occurs
in a destination. Our hypothesis is that because Japan has over 100 active
volcanoes, it is so used to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that they cease
to be newsworthy," stated ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder Olivier Jager.
Despite the drop-offs in May, looking ahead to the coming
five-month period until the end of October, forward bookings are still 2.2%
above where they were at this time last year. International flight bookings to
Hawaii for June and July are just 0.5% and 1.6% behind where they were last
year, respectively, and bookings for August, September and October are ahead
6.7%, 7.9% and 2.3%, respectively.
"Given the magnitude of media coverage, forward
bookings to Hawaii are holding up surprisingly well. We are also aware that the
vast majority of Japanese and other international visitors to Hawaii stay in
Honolulu, which is on a different island from the one where Kilauea is erupting,"
stated Jager. "We believe that the messages from the governor and the
Hawaii Tourism Authority that the volcano is in a remote location, over 100
miles from the main tourist resort areas, and that the islands are open for
business, have credibility and are, to a significant extent, being heeded."
Prior to the volcano erupting, Hawaii's international flight
bookings were on an upswing. During the first four months of 2018, total
international flight bookings to Hawaii (excluding the U.S.) were up 5.4%,
compared with the same period last year, according to ForwardKeys.
ForwardKeys analyzes more than 17 million flight booking
transactions a day, drawing data from major global air reservation systems and
selected airlines and tour operators, among other sources.