LIHUE, Hawaii — Businesses on Kauai are offering large discounts to lure back customers after a near complete end to tourist visits to the Hawaiian island since the coronavirus outbreak in the spring.
The businesses are providing the discounts as a gesture to residents who also have felt the economic impact of lost visitors, The Garden Island reported Thursday.
No out-of-state travelers flew into Lihue Airport July 13, while only 2,533 people arrived in the state during a period when the Hawaii Tourism Authority said there were 35,000 arrivals last year.
Kauai businesses have offered discounts on products and services including horseback tours, shave ice and wedding ceremonies.
Some of the discount offers are posted on the Kauai Visitors Bureau website. The site was relaunched recently after Democratic Gov. David Ige approved the restoration of inter-island travel, visitor bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho said in an email.
Donna Hunt, business manager of Silver Falls Ranch in Kilauea, said there have been 750 bookings for horseback-riding tours using a 60% to 70% discount.
“Three-fourths of our guests have been Kauai people,” Hunt said.
Daniel Soule, owner of Fresh Shave in Kalaheo, said offering a discount on flavored shave ice is a reminder for residents to “come out even during uncertain times.”
Joyful-Ceremonies and Weddings now offers 25% off beach wedding ceremonies through the end of the year.
Owner Dale Rosenfeld said 99% of her business normally comes from tourists and the discount is meant as a goodwill gesture to the community, where she said health should come before profits.
“I’m not in a hurry to see the island open even though the economy is devastating,” Rosenfeld said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.