There is no doubt that the tourism industry was greatly impacted by the shutdown and the ensuing regulations and safety measures put in place. It became clear pretty early that some businesses were impacted more than others. But as the economy has opened up and more people are vaccinated, some challenges still remain.
Earl Ohana of Oahu Concrete Contractors saw a business boom during the COVID lockdown. Following a nationwide trend, many homeowners finally got around to their list of home improvement projects they had been putting off. As a result, the construction industry experienced a huge boom.
Yet, other sectors of the economy struggled. Tourism, a huge part of the island’s economy took a major hit and many workers were laid off or furloughed, initiating a spike in unemployment across the islands and the whole United States.
Now that tourists are returning, they will not find many of the shops and tour operators available, since many businesses permanently closed their doors during the pandemic.
As the economy has reopened, tourism has seen a huge increase. Employers have struggled to fill all of the job openings and service all of the tourists streaming into Honolulu.
Staffing Shortages Remain
A lingering problem is the reluctance of the workforce to put themselves at risk by getting back to work. As a result, many job openings remain unfilled and businesses have had to become creative in managing all that needs to get done with much less staff. This hasn’t stopped restless travelers from taking advantage of all that the islands have to offer.
The shutdown has been a chance for many residents to experience the island without the constant impact of millions of yearly visitors. This respite has many residents wondering if returning to huge crowds and catering to tourists is really what they want.
Instead, some are reimagining the future of tourism on Oahu and how it can benefit residents without steeping them in unneeded crowds. Tourists need to come back but maybe more can be done to limit the crowds and make a visit to the islands a more mutually beneficial process.
Not only has the shutdown impacted local businesses but it has changed the way residents think about tourism.
World Wide Implications
Many cities and popular destinations around the world have taken this time to reimagine their relationship with visitors. They are creating more stringent guidelines and regulations to put limits on how many tourists have access to their cities.
They are also turning to data and technology to understand how visitors experience these destinations and identify ways to make these places more enjoyable for residents and visitors alike.
Identifying bottlenecks, creating more structure around how people access parks and other popular tourist attractions are all part of an effort to reimagine tourism after COVID.
Oahu Concrete Contractors
2023 Round Top Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822