Tourism industry braces for downturn as coronavirus spreads
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tourism executives across Hawaii are watching for economic sniffles from the coronavirus, but so far the state is inoculated against its worst effects.
“Like almost every hotel that caters to a global clientele we have experienced some cancellations, which is to be expected, but not of a significant level,” said Peter Shaindlin, chief operating officer of Halekulani Corporation.
A new report from the UH Economic Research Organization, “Coronavirus Presents Danger to Hawaii Tourism,” sounds more alarms, referring to “a considerable — if as yet uncertain — risk to Hawaii’s economy in the year to come.”
International visitor traffic, a fraction of Hawaii’s total tourism in the best of times, has already been in decline for non-viral reasons, like unfavorable currency exchange rates.
Japanese visitor traffic so far this Friday is down roughly 1% from the same time last year, while arrivals from other countries are down 20%.
The hit is from places like South Korea and Australia and so far has nothing to do with illness.
China has never been more than an asterisk of Hawaii international visitor traffic. And that traffic shrank throughout 2019. It was about 11,000 visitors a month a year ago but had shrunk to 5,000 a month by late fall. Hawaii gets more than 5,000 visitors a day from Japan.
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