HLTA: Return to Non-Essential Travel on Nov. 1 is First Step in Getting Economy Moving
Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association President & CEO Mufi Hannemann responded to an announcement today by Governor David Ige, indicating that non-essential travel to the state can resume effective Nov. 1. The announcement was made at a joint media appearance at the opening of the new international terminal at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
“I think we are all encouraged by what we’ve seen over the last several weeks with the continuing trend of lower case counts,” said Gov. Ige in a press release, noting that Hawaiʻi may safely open to vaccinated residents and visitors who are traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure, starting Nov. 1.
“Our hospitals are doing better, and we have fewer COVID patients in them. Most importantly, our health care system has responded, and we have the ability to move forward with economic recovery. Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume non-essential travel to and within the State of Hawaiʻi,” said Gov. Ige.
Hannemann said the local tourism industry is pleased with the governor’s announcement. “While we recognize that there are still details that need to be sorted out—paying special mind to input from the county mayors and information provided by the healthcare community and the business sector—this announcement is an important first step toward getting our economy moving again safely and judiciously,” he said.
On Aug. 23, Gov. Ige had called upon Hawaiʻi residents and visitors to delay non-essential travel through the end of October 2021 due to the accelerated surge in COVID-19 cases that he said at the time was burdening the state’s health care facilities and resources.
“We also commend Mayor Roth for making clear that we want healthy, vaccinated travelers to return to Hawai‘i as soon as possible. The November 1 timeline is something that HLTA and our statewide coalition of representatives from tourism, restaurants, retail, ground and air transportation, labor unions, and chambers of commerce has pushed for from the very beginning—in our discussions with the Governor and in a letter to him—and we are gratified to see it come to fruition,” said Hannemann.
“We look forward to working with Governor Ige and his administration to shape a clear message to prospective travelers that Hawai‘i is open for business and travel can once again be booked with confidence,” he said.
The state continues to seek information from the federal government about its plans for international travel and will have an appropriate plan in place prior to Nov. 8.
The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association is the state’s largest private organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, other lodging entities, suppliers, and related firms and individuals with a connection to tourism. HLTA is dedicated to supporting the hospitality industry through education, political action, and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions throughout the state.
The following graph was prepared by the County Office of Economic Development as part of its Monthly Economic Indicators report. The data shows that visitor arrivals by air to Maui County for August was near pre-pandemic levels. The data was released at the end of September, and the next monthly indicators report showing September numbers is due out at the ned of this month. It does not reflect the impact of the governor’s request to delay travel, since the time period covered in the graph shows the period prior to when the announcement was made.