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Hawaii visitor arrivals continue upward trend

The number of visitors flying to Hawaii rose for the fourth day in a row Saturday, but wasn’t enough to top the number of arrivals who arrived a week early during Memorial Day weekend, according to data released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

On Saturday, 369 visitors arrived in the islands, with most of them — 343 — heading to Oahu. Fifteen went to Hawaii island, while 11 traveled to Kauai. Saturday’s daily visitor count came close to the 384 visitors who arrived a week earlier, and the number of visitors was the second highest to arrive in one day since the state began its 14-day mandatory quarantine for arriving air passengers on March 26.

Visitors made up about 30% of the 1,268 people who flew in to Hawaii on Saturday aboard 15 flights. The other passengers included 373 returning residents, 161 crew members, 121 people relocating to Hawaii, 133 military members, 78 people transiting to other locations, and 33 people who received prior approval to be exempt from the quarantine.

The daily visitor arrival counts have been higher in May than in April when there were on average less than 200 visitors arriving daily. That is a minuscule amount compared to the 856,250 visitors who came by air and cruise ship in April 2019.

At this time last year, about 30,000 people were arriving in Hawaii daily, but the numbers plummeted after Gov. David Ige ordered the quarantine for air passengers to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine was extended to interisland travel on April 1. Both quarantines are set to expire June 30, but Ige said last week that he expects to lift the interisland quarantine any day now and to extend the trans-Pacific quarantine beyond June 30.

With new coronavirus cases remaining low in Hawaii, visitor industry leaders have urged the state to set a date for dropping the trans-Pacific quarantine so they can make plans for reopening, but so far they continue to wait.

Of the 343 visitors who arrived Saturday on Oahu, 249 of them answered on the state Department of Transportation’s new mandatory travel declaration form that they were coming to Hawaii to visit family and friends. Forty-one said they were coming only for business.

Thirty-two said they were coming for only vacation despite the quarantine, which requires that visitors stay in their lodging for two-weeks and allows them to leave only to seek medical assistance.

Six said they were visiting for a mix of reasons, including business, visiting family and friends, and vacation. Fifteen did not answer the question.

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