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Hotels Struggle Across the Islands

AP Photo/Caleb Jones

Tourism is slowly climbing back, but January 2021 was still a rough month for hotels.

With the most stringent travel policies, Kauai is feeling the greatest pain in the hotel industry. Occupancy rates there were the lowest among the four counties, at just 18%. This is one of the findings of the Hawaii Hotel Performance Report for January 2021, compiled for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Visitors to Kauai who come in from outside of Hawaii still face a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine period, except for those staying in a county-approved “resort bubble” property. Resort bubble visitors can leave the property and travel like anyone else after just three days of quarantine, provided they get a negative Covid test result.

In a year-over-year comparison, Oahu felt the sharpest drop in occupancy from last January, down nearly 64%. The best performance was on Hawaii Island, where a 55% decline left the island with a nearly 27% occupancy rate.

No category of hotel has gone unscathed, but luxury and upscale class have fared the worst with occupancy rates as low as 17%.

Statewide room revenue totaled $90.4 million — down nearly 80% from last January. If these occupancy rates sound high, considering the overall performance of tourism right now, it’s because the supply of available rooms is also down from its 2019 levels as some properties have not yet reopened.

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