Hawaii Open For Travel | Pressure Mounts As Governor Crushes Hawaii Tourism

“Hawaii’s Open For Travel” | Pressure Mounts As Governor Crushes Hawaii Tourism

A risk-averse governor is helping cripple Hawaii tourism per two high-placed officials. As you know, the Governor has continued to request that visitors stay away from Hawaii at this time, despite a dramatic drop in COVID here.

Mufi Hannemann, prior Honolulu mayor and president of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said that the lack of a “positive statement soon from the governor that we’re ready to open up again” is severely injuring Hawaii tourism’s recovery.

Hanemann said that the Governor’s proclamation (we’d say together with other factors) has resulted in a drop of nearly fifty percent in the hotel occupancy rate.

But is that wholely true? Hannemann said that airlift had plummeted from “225,000 on a weekly basis over the summer… to 150,000, or even less.” Our take is that the downswing in visitor arrivals is instead a combined result of the Governor’s proclamation, regular seasonal changes, plus general traveler concern about travel during the recent upswing in COVID.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s take on Governor Ige.

It is hard for anyone to predict what route Governor Ige will take next. And that has been the case throughout the pandemic, and in fact, well before.

Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. commented about Governor Ige in the current situation, saying Ige “is super risk-averse and doesn’t want to risk any slippage and I never like to predict where the governor will go because I don’t have the capacity to make these decisions, of course, as lieutenant governor.” Ige’s concerns are in spite of the fact that the state Department of Health says that less than 1% of Hawaii COVID is as a result of visitors.

Governor Ige term as Governor will end soon.

Ige will term out as Governor effective November 2022. Lt. Gov. Green is by far the most likely candidate to replace Governor Ige. To what degree politics influences the interactions between the two, we can’t say. It is unlikely, however, that Ige will support Green in his gubernatorial run. Green said that Ige is very conservative and that it was traumatic for the Governort when the state went to nearly 500 hospitalizations last month. Green now expects to see an easing of restrictions starting within the next two weeks.

And yet last week, Ige extended executive orders for an additional two months. Could it get any more confusing?

Most travel stakeholders are publicly quiet, but not all.

Outrigger Hotels president Jeff Wagoner was at the same news conference with Mufi and said that “a positive statement soon is critical in order to get travel back in Hawaii in a safe way.” He added that the Governor’s August 23 announcement made front-page national media and resulted in cancellations that far outpaced bookings. “But now, it’s time to look at the economic health of our community.”

Other travel stakeholders have not made any public statements, which is in keeping with normal Hawaii tradition.

What’s next?

Green is anticipating changes that would eliminate most restrictions soon, although what specifically would occur has not been addressed by him and remains within the purview of the Governor. Mufi added that he too is encouraged and in fact highly optimistic that Ige will make the announcement soon that visitors should return to Hawaii. That will also serve to eliminate the confusion that Ige’s August request that was “without teeth” has caused.

Wagoner said that what is needed now is a simple, non-ambiguous statement that “Hawaii’s open for travel.”

43 thoughts on ““Hawaii’s Open For Travel” | Pressure Mounts As Governor Crushes Hawaii Tourism”

  1. I think the safest course of action is to ignore Mufi Hannemann at all times, and Josh Green for the last six months and going forward. I won’t characterize Hannemann or my comment will be declined, but all Green has done lately is confuse the issues while he runs for governor. “…I never like to predict where the governor will go because I don’t have the capacity to make these decisions, of course, as lieutenant governor.” Then keep it to yourself, dummy.

    I work at a condo resort and the only decline in occupancy I’ve seen has been the normal seasonal dip. I live at a different condo resort and there hasn’t even been a seasonal dip. If they want to tell you occupancy is down, like the claim that after Ige asked people not to come here there were 52,000 room night cancellations on Maui, make ’em prove it or offer some evidence. Otherwise you can put as much faith in that as when I tell you that after Ige’s request, reservations for people under 35 went up 37.873%. I have no data behind that and I made it up. I’m sure tourism did go down after Ige said that, but to think they know by how much, and can isolate the effect of Ige’s statement from the effect of sharply higher cases throughout the country and the normal seasonal dip is farcical.

  2. Aloha BOH Bro’s

    I own a customer service business we get tipped with mostly cookies, candy and during AC season our share of cash.

    We’re grateful for it all, so I tend to tip a lot.

    I’ve never experienced the gratitude I’m receiving from everyone I’ve tipped on our current trip on Maui.

    It’s overwhelming really hits home how many have suffered during the pandemic.

    1. Hi Richard.

      Thanks for letting us know. Sounds like you’re still having a great time on Maui.


      1. Who, in their right mind would want to travel to Hawaii with all the uncertainty of being a political prisoner under house arrest for 2 weeks or to stay at someone’s bubble resort. With the unfair fees and guest taxes. Maybe those that own property in Hawaii can make up for the lost revenue and taxes that us tourists bring. We’re not the boogie man, even though we’re called hollies. I can hear the batching already about the suffering caused by traffic and people not being considerate. The money is running out for the free handouts, in the meantime we’ll find another destination to spend our hard earned money.

        1. Rich R, you nailed it.

          It seems as though too many in govt and locals have forgotten that Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific, not an ideal location for manufacturing. So, tourism and military bases are the ideal industries given location, weather and few other wealth-building options.

  3. Not just the little guys.

    Zacks Equity Research, (13 September 2021). Hawaiian Holdings’ (HA) Q3 View Dims on Delta Variant-Led Woes. nasdaq.com/articles

    “With the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Hawaiian Holdings HA recently trimmed its outlook for the third quarter of 2021. This bearish view adds to the carrier’s woes, shares of which have declined 29.1% over the past three months, worse than its industry’s 14.4% contraction in the same time period.”

    “The Delta-variant spread slowed down bookings at this carrier … . Moreover, accelerated ticket cancellations are believed to be primarily due to the Governor of Hawaii’s public comments, which suggested that it is not the appropriate time to visit the island.”

  4. Thank you for the information, It is always good to know what is happening in Hawaii before I travel.

  5. If I may make an unscientific observation, we judge the tourist numbers by the length of the line at Little Fish coffee in the morning. We’re still very busy here in Kauai.
    Workers at Waiohai tell me they’ve been 90+ capacity for months.
    Another thought, we were absolutely inundated when travel opened in April. Perhaps people jumped at the chance and that rush is setting down a bit.
    Roads are crowded, dinner reservations are difficult, Farmer’s Market is busy. I think Kauai at least is doing fine.

  6. Aloha BOH Bro’s

    On Maui now perfect time for a traveler to be here not so good for folks who own and working in the tourist industry.

    The message has been constant with individuals making their living from providing tourism services that the summer surge was over blown that lack of services were more of an issue versus the size of crowds.

    They’re also saying that even before Gov Ige’s don’t come announcement Hawaii was in its natural slowing of tourism after the summer crush.

    The huge cancellation of fall travel is crushing individuals, tour operators and family owned business.

    One thing not getting enough press is inflation. Food and housing costs are out of sight forcing much of the tourism workforce to move back to the mainland.

    1. Hi RICHARD C

      I believe a most excellent point.

      “One thing not getting enough press is inflation. Food and housing costs are out of sight forcing much of the tourism workforce to move back to the mainland.”

      I believe you identify a lurking .

      And not just food, housing, and consumables.

      Let us wait a few months as the major airline’s current fixed price fuel contracts require renewal and see where transportation cost go. Retail fuels are up a dollar or more from same time last year.

      It will be interesting to witness what higher cost to travel to a location that already has a very high cost of living and where one is not wanted might bring.

      I think a high potential long term effect of the confluence of all of these things is that in order to sustain things the long hand of Honolulu is going to need to reach deeper into permanent residents’ pockets.

  7. Question of the day. If Green gets to become Governor, will he be full time governor or part time governor/ ER doc ? Between Ige and Green they can’t even agree if the sky s blue.

  8. Taken from West Hawaii News:

    Safe Travels, for example, will remain in place for the time being, he said, echoing a statement Lt. Gov. Josh Green made earlier this week predicting that the travel program will not be changed even as restrictions are lifted.

    Does this mean uploading proof of vaccination on the website before traveling? We just booked our flight yesterday on a non-stop from Atlanta to HNL, and if we have to be tested, that is a major issue here to find the right test. Lord, I hope I did not make a mistake…it’s a non-refundable ticket.

    1. Thoma
      As long as you upload a pdf of your vaccination card into your safe travels account, you will be all set. No testing for vaccinated people at this time. Have a great time!


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