January 4th, 2022

SMS Hawai'i Community Pulse Survey Findings

A majority of Hawai‘i residents feel that Hawai‘i must continue to promote tourism. Wary residents also believe travelers to the State should be required to take a COVID test, regardless of vaccination status.


At the beginning of November 2021, residents were more supportive of promoting tourism than they were back in May 2021. Sixty-three percent (63%) encouraged tourism promotion (answering, “increase tourism promotion now” or “promote tourism until recover,” or “keep tourism promotion at the same level”), compared to 54 percent six months ago. Only 38 percent of residents wanted to “Scale back” or “Stop tourism promotion” compared to almost half (46%) in May 2021.

More men (72%) than women (53%) were sympathetic to tourism promotion. And Kaua‘i residents (83%) were more likely than Maui (34%), Hawai‘i Island (57%), or O‘ahu (66%) residents to support tourism promotion.

On the other hand, residents 75 years or older (50%), full-time students (57%), or retirees (44%) wanted the State to “scale back on tourism promotion now.” Furthermore, Native Hawaiian residents were almost twice as likely to advocate for the State to “stop all tourism promotion now” (24%) compared to only 11 percent of all Hawai‘i residents.

Though supportive of tourism, Hawai‘i residents were still wary of outside travelers bringing in the next wave of Coronavirus infections. Six out of ten adult residents felt travelers coming into Hawai‘i should still take a COVID-19 test even if they have proof of vaccination. Even more cautious, 75 percent of all Neighbor Island residents stated that vaccinated travelers should still be tested compared to 53 percent of O‘ahu residents. There was no significant difference in responses among age groups, ethnicity, household size, or income.

The SMS Community Pulse Surveys are independent, non-sponsored surveys. In 2020 the surveys were conducted from May 5 - May 10, June 11 - June 17, July 31 - August 8, and October 19 - October 31. In 2021 it was conducted from May 18 - 26, and again November 4 - 8. The surveys are statewide surveys undertaken through a panel of Hawai‘i residents. All survey cycles had more than 400 completed surveys. 408 surveys were completed from November 4 to November 9, 2021. A probability sample of 400 plus completed interviews has a sampling error estimate of +/-5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Data were balanced to reflect the adult population of the State using the 2019 U.S. Census data.

To see all data, visit our interactive SMS Community Pulse Dashboard. For more information, please contact Daniel Nāho'opi'i at (808)440-0711 or [email protected].

Client Testimonials

SMS did a great job in leading Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s evaluation development process…including identifying input, output and outcome measures to track progress toward HTA’s strategic goals. SMS also provided steps to guide us in integrating the evaluation process into our overall operations and planning. Our staff was actively engaged in the process and tracking the measures will ensure a focus on driving towards outcomes.

— Leslie Dance, former VP Marketing
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

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