The March 2021 visitor count increased 92.7% from the March 2020 count, according to data recently released by Love Catalina Island. The non-profit business group is also known as the Catalina Island Tourism Authority. “March reflected the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 but showed significant signs of recovery. Mid-March 2020 was when COVID-19 based limitations on travel were initially imposed,” according to the Love Catalina website.
This is good news, given the island’s dependence on visitor dollars to support the local economy (and city government tax revenues).
“March 2021 was below the three-year average of 45,718 by 2.9%,” according to the website.
“March was below the five-year average of 58,686 by 24.3% and the ten-year average of 64,764 by 31.4%,” according to the website.
“Passengers arriving by sea, including private boaters, was 41,518 for the month of March, up 83.8% from 22,591 last year,” according to Love Catalina.
“Private Boater passenger counts were up year-over-year by 163.5% @ 2,512,” according to Love Catalina.
“People aboard planes (Airport in the Sky) was up 338.8% @ 1,448,” according to the website.
“People aboard Charter Helicopters was up year-over-year by 1.027% @ 1,447 vs.129,” according to the website.
However, the visitors who came by helicopter represented 3.26% of March 2021 arrivals, according to the website.
“Total arrivals year-to-date was down from last year @ 77,159 vs. 132,077 or a difference of 54,918 visitors,” according to Love Catalina.
Remember that the numbers reported compared a time when the state, the county and the Island are reopening with a time when everything was largely shut.