The coronavirus outbreak is likely to hurt tourism in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands destinations, Moody’s Investors Service reported Tuesday.

However, the impact is likely to be muted as long as the outbreak is contained quickly.

Hawaii is less at risk than Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Moody’s said, because those destinations depend almost completely on visitors from Asia, and the CNMI because it is significantly less dependent on international visitors.

By contrast the vast majority of visitors to Hawaii come from North America.

Still, Japan is a major market for Hawaii, and Moody’s noted the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, led to big drops in visitors from China (34.6%), Hong Kong (15.8%), Japan (9.6%) and Australia (14.9%).

And Moody’s noted, “if the outbreak is not contained quickly, the economic and fiscal effect has the potential to be significant.”

A Hawaiian Airlines flight at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Moody’s is warning that the coronavirus outbreak could harm visitor travel to the islands. Flickr: ackook

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