State: Hawaii saw a $23M drop in visitor spending last month

State: Hawaii saw a $23M drop in visitor spending last month
Visitors lounge on Waikiki on a Tuesday afternoon. There's growing concern about how the coronavirus will impact Hawaii's tourism-drive economy. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The House has formed a special committee to tackle the fallout to Hawaii’s economy of the coronavirus.

And that fallout has already started.

So far this week, three large events slated for Honolulu have been postponed or canceled, including the Honolulu Festival.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported a $23 million drop in visitor expenditures last month and a 7.3% decline in international passengers.

It’s not yet known how significant a toll the outbreak will take on Hawaii’s tourism-driven economy.

But after setting up the special committee, House Speaker Scott Saiki noted the major hit Hawaii took during the Great Recession.

To tackle a massive shortfall, lawmakers cut public employee salaries, shortened the school week and cut millions of dollars from social programs.

Saiki plans to appoint the committee’s chair and its members soon.

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