Kuleana Tourism Campaign: Ecoculture Hawaii

Gray Hawaii Travel Boon Begins Now

A New York Times article caught our attention that has direct implications for Hawaii. We’ve already seen a significant uptick in both inquiries and reservations for Hawaii vacations later this year. The wave of renewed interest is beginning with those in the 65+-year-old bucket. It is being coined a silver-haired lining to the COVID cloud. Hawaii visitors 60+ previously made up about 15% of visitors. That number is now set to increase.

As those inoculated begin to examine life’s possibilities, Hawaii is facing a gray travel boon. As we continue to hear from so many of you who canceled your planned Hawaii vacations and instead were hunkered down in your homes, many of you are ready to vacation in Hawaii again.

Hawaii has always been a popular destination for seniors, which will be more true now than ever. Those who are 65+ are among the first to receive COVID vaccines, and with that is coming to an immediate renewal of interest in Hawaii travel.

Given that those in their late 60s, 70s, and 80s are the most vulnerable and have to a large degree been locked inside for the past year, this is no real surprise. Order Americans wonder just how many more years of Hawaii vacations they have in front of them, now more than ever. People don’t take things for granted in the same way as before COVID.

With Hawaii COVID vaccination passport travel to be announced in the coming weeks.

This is about to get much better for those who have been vaccinated. Until then, for all Hawaiian islands, except Kauai, travel requires a COVID test within 72 hours of travel. Kauai travel will remain largely off the travel radar, at least for now, having opted out of the statewide Safe Travel program.

As older travelers receive their first vaccinations, we continue to hear from hotels, airlines, and other stakeholders that older Americans lead the pack to Hawaii.

Hawaii travel and hospitality workers are beginning to be vaccinated.

In recently updated CDC guidelines, hotel workers are being prioritized for early vaccination. They are classified as a category of Essential Workers.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) lobbied for this change. It said it is “A significant achievement,” adding, “Our industry is playing a vital role in supporting our communities as we battle this public health crisis. While hotels have protocols in place to ensure limited contact between employees and guests, prioritizing employees with access to the vaccine would provide another layer of protection.”

We are hearing from hospitality employees in the state who are being immunized as early as this week. That is starting on Kauai, which is somewhat ironic since their mayor opted out of Safe Travels.

Hawaii remains the safe yet exotic domestic choice destination for seniors and all travelers.

Hawaii’s Aqua-Aston Hospitality reported that those booking their senior citizen discounted rates jumped by 60% as of last month.

In these times of the unknown, Hawaii is looking good for travel resumption. Without a need for international travel, foreign health insurance, and other complications, Hawaii’s Safe Travels program, with all its foibles, still provides the sense that COVID is not out of control here in the islands.

So what will Hawaii travel be like post-COVID?

The fact that travel likely never will be the same as pre-COVID is clear. Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald, which is a global think tank on aging, said recently, “In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience. We’ve been forced to stop and think: I could die, or someone I love could die. When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”

Additional risk avoidance measures will remain on Hawaii vacations. Mask wearing appears set to continue to be the norm for some time as not everyone plans to be vaccinated.

For the foreseeable future in Hawaii, US domestic travel will dominate compared with foreign travel. We can better control everything while remaining in the U.S. Yet Hawaii brings many exotic aspects associated with international travel home to the domestic paradigm.

Hawaii travel marketing will include health and safety. 

We continue to predict more growth in vacation rentals, too, since they allow you to limit your exposure to others.


45 thoughts on “Gray Hawaii Travel Boon Begins Now”

  1. “Gray Travel Boon” eh?

    Reminds me of the old Hawaii tourism slogan from the early 1980s: “Number One Vacation Destination for the Newly Weds and the Nearly Deads”.

    I suppose my wife and I we’ve changed categories since that time …

    1. Hi David.

      Glad that you are retaining your good humor while on the mainland.


  2. Stupid mayor of kauai. Lots of 65 plus want to go to kauai. Get back in safe travels and save your island. Gov ige. Make your mayors follow your rules. Kawakami has list credibility and you are fast following without control of your island of hawaii. Your people beg you

  3. Aloha
    So a vaccine is needed within 3 months of travel. Both doses or one dose?
    Since there aren’t enough vaccines to go around how can a person expect to get more than one set of vaccines?
    If a person has already had one set of vaccines- as pushed by Fouchi and Biden- than they are not eligible to get another set of vaccines until some other time months from now- probably next year.
    And will health insurance providers cover this second round??
    Test cost $
    Vaccines cost$
    Hawaii travel is getting more expensive day by day.

  4. I fall into the age group 60-80. I have knowledge that the number of long distance vacations have a limit before age catches up and travel is no longer possible. That is why having to cancel this year’s trip to Kauai was especially hard. I live in Tennessee and the state had over 85,000 cases of Covid in January, today that number has dropped to below 15,000 active cases. Yet the economy has been open with certain restrictions at restaurants and bars. There is limited seating, mandatory masks and social distancing. Vaccines have provided a hope that things will eventually get back to something close to normal. But the hard reality is that Covid will be with us for many years to come and will never be totally eliminated. Can’t wait to make plans to return to the place we love.

    1. Same here, and we also live in Tennessee! We’d hoped to go last year, and still have some hope we may be able to this year. Can’t wait to be back on Kauai.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top