As Covid cases continue to surge and global hotspots erupt, there are clear signs about what is happening in Hawaii travel. Hotels, airlines, and car rental companies are reporting increased cancellations and declines in future bookings. In the past two weeks, arrivals are down by about one-third. That followed the governor’s recent request for Hawaii travelers to pause travel through October, in addition to other factors below.
It is a combination of concern about Hawaii’s existing Covid rules, new and future mandated changes, general trepidation about travel once again, and Hawaii’s rising Covid cases that have resulted in these downward trends. Some of you with plans are unsure about your ability to proceed. Many are still coming as planned, as others are rescheduling or are simply canceling.
Hawaii had been considered safe during other phases of the pandemic, in large part due to our strict travel and quarantine restrictions; that perception has changed.
Late summer and fall are always a time of year when Hawaii travel slows. And this year, that will be worse than expected. The slowdown may at least provide good news for the state’s strained health care system. Yet, in terms of the financial impact on our travel-dependent economy, it simply couldn’t come at a worse time.
Honolulu and Maui vaccination passports add another wrench in travel.
After Governor Ige told travelers that it was not a good time to visit, both Oahu and Maui counties are also implementing vaccination passports this month to help deal with caseloads that have led many Hawaii hospitals to the brink of disaster.
The new programs will make it significantly more challenging for unvaccinated visitors to travel, at least to those islands, with only a pre-travel testing exemption. In addition, differing rules once again, island-by-island, as appears to be the case with these passports (we are awaiting further details from Maui), add to visitor concerns. The Big Island and Kauai have yet to implement such vaccination passports, but those may also be forthcoming.
As 69% of leisure travelers move to reduce trips.
A survey conducted by Morning Consult for the American Hotel & Lodging Association that was released today purports that “U.S. leisure travelers plan to significantly pare back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 69% planning to take fewer trips, 55% planning to postpone existing travel plans, and 42% likely to cancel existing plans without rescheduling… and 72% are likely to only travel to places within driving distance.” The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted from August 11-12, 2021.
Nerve-wracking rule changeability among Hawaii travel-buzz killers.
The number of changes that have recently occurred and those that may be forthcoming has impacted the perception or reality of the inability to proceed with travel plans. The situation in Hawaii, in terms of travel rules, remains fluid. And a trip to Hawaii is a big deal, given the significant air travel, accommodation, and car rental costs.
The desire for Hawaii vacations is strong. Concerns about health, safety, and lost travel dollars remain.
People are continuing to desire Hawaii travel, with a continuing pent-up demand that has not gone anywhere. If anything, it is increasing once again, since international travel seems to be as daunting as ever. In that regard, just as it seemed like things were returning to some form of “new normal,” we find once again that they are not. Domestic travel for a lot of travelers retains many advantages.
Yet, Hawaii-bound visitors have a myriad of valid concerns. Those include their health and safety while traveling to, from, and within Hawaii, not wanting to impact the limited Hawaii healthcare system negatively, and the desire to safeguard their travel dollars should anything go awry.
What are you planning now in terms of Hawaii vacations?