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HTA Reassures Visitors that Hawaiʻi’s Safety is Unaffected

January 13, 2018, 4:53 PM HST · Updated January 13, 4:55 PM
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George Szigeti. PC: HI-EMA 1.13.18 press conference.

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, issued the following statement commenting on the false alert about an inbound missile coming to Hawaiʻi that was mistakenly issued by the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency.

“This morning’s false alert was regrettable and completely avoidable. There was no reason for the alert to be issued and the public needs to know that it was simply a mistake caused by human error. Our governor and the director of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency have made strong public assurances that this type of mistake will never happen again, and we should all take that to heart.

“Already, procedures have been improved to ensure that an error of this magnitude is not repeated. The health and welfare of our residents and visitors is always the State of Hawaiʻi’s top priority and no agency takes that responsibility more seriously than the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency.

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“We have been in contact with our tourism stakeholders to inform them of today’s false alert and reassure them that Hawaiʻi’s safety and security is unaffected by today’s unfortunate incident. There is no cause for travelers with trips already booked to Hawaiʻi or considering a vacation in the islands to change their plans. Hawaiʻi continues to be the safest, cleanest and most welcoming travel destination in the world and the alarm created today by the false alert does not change that at all.”

In response to the confirmed false ballistic threat alarm, Legislators have called for a joint Senate and House Committee informational briefing for Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 at 10 a.m. to review operations of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) and the procedures and protocols for the emergency management system.

“The safety of our residents and visitors is one of the most important responsibilities of our job as government officials.  I’m extremely upset at the terror and confusion caused by this false alarm. This false alert is detrimental to the integrity and trust of the emergency management system and we need to ensure that improvements are made to make sure this does not happen again,” said Sen. Donna Kim (Dist. 14 – Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea), Chair of the Committee on Government Operations.

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