Hawaii tourism experts are predicting cruising won’t resume until the second half of next year, according to a new tourism report.

In a grim post-COVID-19 prediction, a report by the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism said: “No cruise visitors until the second half of 2021. It will take six years for visitor arrivals to recover to the 2019 level. This is based on the 2009 great recession pace.”

Hawaii is a popular cruise destination. Norwegian Cruise Lines  Pride of America is based year-round in Hawaii and according to NCL’s president and CEO, Frank Del Rio, Pride of America is the highest yielding in its fleet in 2017.

The line is offering cruises in August 2020.

The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism research Administrator Dr Eugene Tian tried to hose down the fallout from his department’s predictions.

He said in an email to the website Cruise Critic: These assumptions are pure economic assumptions, not the government decisions.”

His report, released earlier this week, examined the economic fallout from COVID-19 in Hawaii, which has one of the strictest quarantine policies in the United States. Non-residents who travel to the islands must go into quarantine for 14 days; violators of the policy have been arrested for noncompliance.

The report predicted visitors to Hawaii this year are expected to fall to 3.4 million – down 67.5 per cent compared to 2019.  But tourism numbers will pick up next year to reach 6.2 million, 8.3 million in 2022 and 9.4 million in 2023.

What happens to cruise is still unclear.