Hawaii Tourism Swings Wildly Again As Visitor Spend Up 67%

Hawaii Hits 70% Vaccinated: When Safe Travels Ends + Normal Resumes?

This week Hawaii crossed what was once considered the critical mark of 70% of its entire population being fully vaccinated. Governor Ige said in June that the milestone would end the Hawaii Safe Travels program and its vaccination and testing options to avoid quarantine. But now that has all changed, and Safe Travels has still not gone away. So what’s up with that?

Here’s what can Hawaii visitors through 2021 expect.

The next big crush of Hawaii tourism is approaching for the Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays. There is no doubt that it will bring a record number of visitors. Hawaii remains easy, safe, and appealing for mainland travelers looking for a warm-weather winter escape. While international travel certainly appears set to resume, it will be a slow ramp-up, and many, if not most, Americans aren’t ready for international quite yet (and that includes us).

Through the end of December, we do not expect to see Hawaii make any significant changes to Safe Travels. That means those fully vaccinated (read on for those from abroad), as well as those who have tested in compliance with the program, can expect to avoid quarantine.

2022 should mark the elimination of Safe Travels.

Hawaii always waits until after a holiday to make changes. And so it will be with Safe Travels. We currently envision Safe Travels being eliminated or drastically reduced in January 2022, so long as the current downward trend of COVID cases continues.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green confirmed our belief saying that for now, Safe Travels will remain: “I think, at least, through the end of this holiday season. The reason for that is that there’s a higher COVID rate on the mainland, and we’re still adjusting to the prospect of bringing international travel here. So, we wouldn’t want to kind of make too many large changes all at once.”

Until Safe Travels is gone, here’s what Hawaii visitors should do.

Be sure to obtain pre-clearance from your airline before boarding your flight to Hawaii. That means you have complied with Safe Travels, as verified by the airline, which then provides you with a clearance wristband. Pre-clear is available from all of the airlines serving Hawaii. This wristband is essential to avoid long lines on arrival, especially during the upcoming holiday periods. Currently, at least three-quarters of all Hawaii-bound travelers are opting to pre-clear, which is helping eliminate an arrival bottleneck at Hawaii airports.

Travel update from Governor Ige next week.

We’ve been advised there will be an announcement next week from the governor that will indicate an “all-clear” for visitors to resume trips. Previously, the governor requested that visitors pause travel for September and October, which request was largely ignored by both travelers and the industry.

International travel to the US is also set to resume on November 8, and Hawaii will announce it is welcoming vaccinated international visitors back to our island state. Until that happens, however, only those vaccinated in the US can take advantage of the vaccination exemption. International visitors, even those fully vaccinated, have had to comply with Safe Travel’s testing protocol only. That, however, is about to change.


32 thoughts on “Hawaii Hits 70% Vaccinated: When Safe Travels Ends + Normal Resumes?”

  1. Great News that Hawaii is falling into line with the acceptance of vaccinated travelers from the UK and other countries who have been vaccinated in their home country with the accepted vaccines.

  2. I have been vaccinated in a US Military Hospital at Camp Humphreys in South Korea. Do I still need to get a PCR test before visiting Hawaii?

    Once Safe Travels is stopped, do I still need to get a PCR test?


  3. Let us all know when the cult of mask leaves the state. Until then, there are a lot of nice places that welcome my money and my smile.l

  4. thank you all for keeping us informed being though things change minute to minute
    Greatly appreciate your time and work you all put into this …
    I’m on the big island now finally get to visit and hangout with my grandkids
    I do not believe or feel that people should be forced or mandated to take a vaccine .it feels very discriminating and segregating to me and just wrong.
    I’m just grateful that I get to be with my family. and we must remember death can come in all forms so enjoy life

    1. Dear Julie, I’m definitely glad & happy for you that you are visiting with your grandchildren!! ๐Ÿ˜ Have a fun & blessed time! ๐Ÿ˜‡ Psalms 91:11

  5. Just returned from one week on Oโ€™ahu. Every restaurant requires to see your vaccination card and ID. Hope they keep this requirement as we all felt safe and enjoyed our trip without any hassles. Alohaโ€ฆ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒบ

    1. Hi Nancy.

      We’re glad you had a good time on Oahu and how your restaurant experiences went.


    2. Dear Nancy, I’ve postponed my dream vacation trip to Oahu for the 3rd time for 2023. I’ve always wanted to go to Pearl Harbor to pay my respects because I have a deep connection to USA history because my Grandfather was in the Navy & in Pearl Harbor. PH is #1 on my itineraryโค I’ve had my itinerary completed for months now. I’m dreaming of the day when I will be sitting on ๐Ÿ›ฉ traveling to Hawaii๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ๐Ÿฅฅ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ•ถ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ‘’๐Ÿข๐Ÿ ๐Ÿฉด๐Ÿ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ‘™๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ“† Take care of yourself & stay safe! God bless you…Psalms 91:1

  6. Can you please provide information on where to get Pre-clear? Do you get this from the airline once you have checked in and show proof of Safe Travels registration and vaccination? Don’t want to miss out of taking advantage of this program.
    Thank you!


      1. The airline that you booked with will ask who has their QR code and that is where you get your wristband. It will be at the gate prior to boarding. Make sure you have your QR code that is all they want to see .Hope that works. Thank you

  7. Flew American Airlines LAX-Lihue on 10/11/21. Aisle seat, good paperback, regular mask, small sandwich, congenial seat mates headed for Poipu, me to Princeville. No problems. Almost finished the book. Being 75 and non-techy, I mistakenly logged 2 travel plans on HI Safe Travels. One had the old flight #; the second, the revised flight #. QR code at LAX didn’t match the revised flight #, so had to enter Safe Travels account and struggled to edit first travel plan to match. Got wrist band @LAX.

  8. Fasten your seat belt.
    Bring your seats upright.
    Place your tray table in the up and stored position.
    And for the continued enjoyment of your visit to Hawaii, please read and note carefully the following information regarding Hawaii’s tourism requirements printed on the card located in the seat back pocket in front of you.

    Do Not Confuse What We Said With What We Actually Meant.

    Thank You and Enjoy Hawaii.

  9. Thanks, BOH, for the nees/update. How come no mention of the Dec 8 โ€œdeadlineโ€ for all major airline employees to be vaccinated (or lose job if not)? Surely flights will be affected if airline staff diminishes because folks would rather lose their jobs than get the shots. CNN has interviewed pilots who have stated they will not get vaccinated. No pilots, no flights. I think its worth a mention in an upcoming article.

    1. Hi Tracy.

      Thank you. We did write an article on the subject recently and will again as indicated when things become more clear.


  10. Mahalo Jeff and Rob for this news!
    Am I correct in thinking that Governor Ige is waiting to see what happens after the “holiday crush” until addressing the 70% remarks he’s made in the past?
    I’m hoping that we see nothing flare up and life can resume as close to normal as possible.
    I’m really worried more about the international issue than anything else. Checks and balances being different in other countries, makes me a little anxious.
    Like you guys I have no desire to leave the USA. Aloha ๐ŸŒบ

    1. Hi Pam.

      Thank you! Yes, every indication is for elimination after the holiday should everything go well between now and then. Both of us would like to have the desire to travel internationally again. It is a weird feeling to not go anywhere.


    2. European countries have had Covid under control for awhile with strict vaccination protocols,inexpensive and available covid testing everywhere–I welcome these visitors back and am anticipating my European trip and have no concerns with safety-

    1. Where did you get your information from? According to the 2020 Census, 27.1% of Hawaiiโ€™s population is under 20.

  11. My husband and I are in our early sixties. We are from Wisconsin, and are both fully vaccinated. What are the restrictions for people such as us, when it comes to traveling to Hawaii? Thank you!

    1. Hi Catherine.

      Proof of vaccination per the Hawaii Safe Travels protocol is the only requirement. No testing.



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