Tourists Are Returning To Hawaii, So Why Aren't Tourism Jobs?
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Tourists Are Returning To Hawaii, So Why Aren’t Tourism Jobs?

Signs that tourists are returning to Hawaii are hard to miss: crowded beaches, lines outside tourist take-out spots, increasing foot traffic along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

The return is hardly an illusion: data shows there were substantially more tourists in Hawaii in March of this year than the same month in 2020, when Hawaii tourism was just starting to feel the effects of COVID-19.

Still, there’s one thing missing: tourism jobs. While numbers show March of 2021 was better than March of 2020 in numbers of visitors, March 2021 was significantly worse in terms of hotel and restaurant jobs – by almost 40,000.

Hawaii hotels and restaurants employed approximately 73,000 workers in March 2021 compared with 112,000 in March 2020. And that’s despite 8% more visitors per day in March 2021, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s visitor census for March.

The reason for this is simple, says Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic…

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