Predictions for business and leisure travel drop amid COVID-19 outbreak
As late as early August, an analysis by The Business Journals found that domestic flights for December were expected to number 751,229 nationwide, about 2% more than recorded in the same. period in 2019.
By the end of August, some 30,000 thefts had disappeared from this estimate and the numbers have continued to decline since then.
Airlines in the United States, Southwest, Frontier and Spirit all lowered their revenue expectations for that month, citing the recent global increase in COVID cases.
Airport hubs will feel it the most, such as Atlanta, which lost 12% of planned flights, and Chicago O’Hare, which lost 6%.
What does this drop, especially in business travel, mean for Hawaii?
Kalani Ka’anā’anā, brand manager at the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said shoulder season was tough for one thing, given that most trips to Hawai’i right now are domestic workers.
Normally, international travel and business travel, spread throughout the year, mitigate declines in our more seasonal domestic market – and that won’t be the case this year.
Hotels across the country are experiencing their own wave of cancellations or reductions in bookings.
Here at home, Kekoa McClellan, spokesperson for the American Hotel & Lodging Association-Hawaii, saw some island hotel occupancy plummet from the ’90s, in percentage, last month to 40 for the next month. Activity fell by half.
Tourism experts we spoke to envision 2022, if not 2024, for a healthy return of business and meeting travel to Hawaii.