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Survey: Visitor Satisfaction Still High, Despite Capacity and Availability Issues

Waikiki beach tourism hotel
Casey Harlow
/
Hawaii Public Radio

Visitor satisfaction remains high, despite challenges getting into local restaurants and attractions. That's according to the latest visitor satisfaction survey from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

The report is the third in a series of surveys gauging visitor experience with the Safe Travels Program and their trip. The research and marketing firm Anthology Group conducted the survey throughout May and the results were presented last week during the HTA's board of directors meeting.

The report said 76% of respondents rated their trip as "excellent." That was down slightly from the two previous surveys in March (82%) and December/January (85%).

However, the biggest issue among those surveyed was the limited capacity and availability at restaurants and attractions. About 30% of respondents said it was an issue during their stay.

HTA board member and TS Restaurants vice president Dylan Ching gave his perspective on the survey. He says staffing is an issue, but safety protocols seem to be the driving force.

"All the counties are different, but there's no restriction on capacities," he said. "Although, there's a six-foot distance, so that really puts you at 50%, or pretty close to [it]."

Ching says the limited capacity is also causing people to make reservations months in advance. That creates long lines or wait times for walk-in customers. In some cases, even resulting in restaurants turning those customers away.

"We're basically not taking any walk-ins at our restaurants," Ching said. "My office is next to our front door, and I'll periodically hear we don't have reservations until August."

Ching says the demand restaurants are seeing is changing visitor and resident sentiment.

Despite the limitations of local restaurants and attractions, as well as COVID-related restrictions, 82% of visitors indicated they were able to do all or most of the activities they had planned.

More than half of respondents said they will visit Hawai‘i again, regardless of the pre-visit requirements. While 23% said they will visit when the pandemic is over, 11% said they will visit when there is no quarantine or testing requirement, and 10% said they have no plans to return to the islands.

The report also indicated there was a difference in satisfaction levels among more affluent visitors. Those with a household income of $100,000 were less satisfied than visitors with lower incomes.

Additionally, tourists that visited one island were more satisfied than those who traveled to multiple islands.

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