THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has decimated the U.S. tourism industry, and thus has been acutely felt in states that depend on tourist dollars, according to WalletHub.com. The website has posted a list of the most affected, and least affected, states.
The 10 most affected states are Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts, Florida, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, New York and California. The 10 least affected are North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Indiana, Wisconsin, Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa and Arkansas.
WalletHub compared the states based on metrics including share of businesses in travel and tourism-related industries, travel spending per travel employee and presence of stay-at-home orders.
It found that New York has the highest share of businesses in travel and tourism-related food industries, 12.19 percent, which is 1.8 times higher than the lowest, Utah, at 6.89 percent. Nevada has the highest share of employment in travel and tourism-related accommodations industries, 16.09 percent, which is 23 times higher than Ohio at 0.70 percent.
The District of Columbia has the highest share of travel and tourism consumer spending, $19,869, which is 10.8 times higher than Ohio’s $1,847. Connecticut has the highest travel spending per travel employee, $168,811, which is 2.2 times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest at $76,458.
“It’s probably no surprise that Hawaii is one of the states hit hardest by COVID-19 when it comes to travel and tourism because those industries comprise a far larger percentage of businesses in Hawaii than in other states, at 29 percent,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “While it’s well known that Hawaii is a popular tourist spot, many people don’t realize just how much of Hawaii’s GDP relies on travelers from all across the globe – 14 percent. Hawaii also has a greater share of consumer expenditures on travel than any other state.”
Oahu Island, Hawaii, experienced the largest decrease in occupancy during the week of March 29 to April 4, dropping 90.7 percent and experiencing the only single-digit absolute occupancy level of 7 percent, according to STR. That led RevPAR there to drop 93.7 percent to $10.83.