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HTA Releases Results from Special Visitor COVID-19 Study

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2021
HTA Release (21-08)

2021-03-30 Visitor COVID-19 Study press release.pdf

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released the results of a special tracking study, which surveyed visitors from the U.S. mainland who visited Hawaii from February 12 through February 28, 2021, to gauge their experience with Hawaii’s Safe Travels program and overall trip satisfaction. This comes two months after the first study was done. In this latest study, the vast majority of visitors (82%) rated their trip as “Excellent,” and 92 percent said their trip either exceeded or met their expectations. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they would recommend visiting Hawaii within the next six months, and that number increased to 90 percent if the quarantine is lifted.

Hawaii’s Safe Travels program allows most passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the mandatory 10-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner. The test has to be taken no earlier than 72 hours from the final leg of departure and the negative result must be received before departure to Hawaii. During February, Kauai County continued to temporarily suspend its participation in the Safe Travels program for trans-Pacific travelers who instead had the option of participating in a pre- and post-travel testing program at a “resort bubble” property as a way to shorten their time in quarantine.

The pre-travel testing experience for visitors improved by six points since the December study, with 85 percent of respondents saying the test requirements went smoothly for them. Among those who indicated they experienced issues with the pre-travel testing process, 51 percent said they felt the 72-hour window for testing was unreasonable, 28 percent encountered difficulty finding a Trusted Testing Partner, and 24 percent said the cost of the test was too high.

Prior to arriving in the islands, nearly all of the respondents were aware of the local government mandates in place to prevent the spread of the virus and that some businesses and attractions had limited availability or were required to operate at reduced capacity.

The survey also asked visitors how often they followed the COVID-19 guidelines, and 90 percent of respondents said they adhered to mask mandates all or most of the time, 83 percent said they practiced social distancing all or most of the time, and 69 percent said they avoided gatherings all or most of the time.

HTA’s Tourism Research Division partnered with Anthology Research to conduct the online survey between March 8 and March 10, 2021, as part of the contract for the Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Study. The results were presented during HTA’s Board of Directors meeting on March 25, and the report is available on HTA’s website:

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