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.