There’s no doubt about it—the pandemic decimated tourism and our local economy back in 2020.

Life became very hard for so many among us due to the complete lack of visitors and the slow rebuilding from the Safe Travels program, but as the years have passed so too have the restrictions on travel, allowing for visitors the world over to once again start experiencing the islands and re-expanding our local economy.

According to a recent release by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Big Island and the Aloha State are forging ahead to a total recovery in the tourism sector—and are even forecasting for growth in 2023, even as the national economic sector experiences far slower growth itself.

Just how much are we talking?

  • U.S. Economic growth is projected to come in at only 0.2% for 2023, according to the latest projections

  • However, the state of Hawai’i welcomed over 7 million visitors during the first ten months of this year, an 88.6% recovery from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019

  • What’s more, it’s projected that the total air seats—or number of flights purchased to travel to the Aloha State—during December and January 2023 are expected to be fully-recovered from the December 2019/January 2020 period

Furthermore, the statewide hotel occupancy rate was at 72% during the late third quarter of this year, only 7.5 percentage points below the tally from October of 2019. Hawai’i County alone saw a 51.6% increase in room rates over the past year—not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves!

On the whole, the state is forecasting that the year’s total number of visitors will come in around 9.3 million by the end of the month, a scant million off the 10.3 that had arrived during the same time frame back in the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

The primary takeaway here? The Big Island—and the Aloha State in general—are nearly as ‘recession-proof- as they come, even in the face of a grimmer nationwide economic forecast. Although some leaner times may well be ahead for the nation at-large it’ll take far more than that to curtail the national appetite for sandy beaches, palm trees, and the very best natural scenery to be found anywhere in the whole wide world.

And it only makes good sense, after all: who wouldn’t want to spend their vacation frolicking on the Big Island of Hawai’i and escape the winter doldrums a bit? So if you’ve been thinking it’s time to make a major move and relocate here to paradise—or you’re looking to get in on the lucrative vacation rental marketplace—then give Karen Bail a call, the Big Island’s very best resource for all your real estate needs.