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Hawaii Travel Upended By Concerns And Cancellations Amid Latest COVID Surge

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,Β  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.Β  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.Β  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?

144 thoughts on “Hawaii Travel Upended By Concerns And Cancellations Amid Latest COVID Surge”

  1. Is it at all possible for an unvaccinated not-high-risk individual to visit relatives on Maui? I experienced very bad symptoms from my first and only flu shot 2 years ago, fever, diarrhea, headaches..

    If the vaccines don’t prevent transmission why am I any more danger than someone who chose to vaccinate? What provisions are there for people like me?

    1. Joe, You can’t assume that because you had an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine that you will have the same bad reaction to the COVID vaccine. having said that, there’s no guarantee you won’t either. In either case, even if you do have the adverse reaction some people are getting, that’s nothing compared to what might happen if you catch COVID. Ending up on a respirator is far worse than some fever and chills. Do yourself a favor, and get the jab.

  2. Was going the first week of October to Oahu, but just canceled as there are to many restrictions. Hotel swimming pool you have to make a reservation the day before for a 90 minute slot if your lucky. All jacuzzis are closed. Restaurants are first come first served and minimal seating. Masks are required on island. 1,600 new cases of COVID per day. Medical not capable of handling all of this. I lived there up until last year. Best to wait until things turn around so we feel we are making the right decision.

    1. Dear Tracie, that is exactly what I’m doing because right now I just don’t feel comfortable traveling where cases are high. Originally I wanted to come in 2020 but virus hit. So now I’ve decided to postpone for 3rd time for 2023. This is the smartest & safest choice I can make for myself & others. We as human beings are in this together so we need to be taking steps to help protect each other! I’m looking very forward to when I’m sitting on πŸ›© traveling to Hawaii. πŸŒπŸ–πŸπŸπŸ₯₯πŸ•ΆπŸ‘™πŸ›πŸ©΄πŸ‘’πŸ˜πŸ’πŸ πŸŒΊπŸŒžπŸŒˆπŸŒŠ. It is my lifelong dream to come to Oahu for my vacation trip. My Grandfather was in Navy & in Pearl Harbor. He survived & I’ve always wanted to go to PH to pay my respects since I have a deep connection to our πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ history. PH is #1 on my itinerary & my itinerary has been completed for months now. I figure Hawaii isn’t going anywhere, so I can wait. Stay safe & be blessed πŸ˜‡psalms 31:14, 118:14, & 91:11 ❀

  3. Aloha BOA buddies. Hope you both are well. These covid comments are getting very boring to read on this Travel blog. They are not even discussing travel, only the virus which they can do on Facebook or their local opinion column in the newspaper. To Ava G go and have a great time. As long as you are healthy and follow the guidelines, you will have a wonderful vacation. Rob and Jeff, please post more travel news than these covid comments. They are really depressing to read. Like they want everyone to be like them. Just use common sense and be diligent and considerate of others. Mahalo appreciate you guys.

    1. Hi Debra.

      Thanks! We are choosing to not publish a large number of comments. It is challenging in these highly polarized times. We are not the information arbiters and we wish there to be as free and open a Hawaii-centric discussion as possible. Sigh.


  4. Unless the Big Island imposes stricter restrictions we are still coming in October. Once in a lifetime trip that may never happen again. We will be watching closely.

    1. Dear Andy, I’m planning my once in a lifetime trip to Oahu for 2023 & this is the 3rd postponement. I just don’t feel comfortable traveling right now where cases are high. It has been my lifelong dream to go to Hawaii, so what is alittle more time?! I’ve waited this long. This is the smartest & safest choice I can make for myself & others to be safe! We as human beings are in this virus situation together & we need to be taking steps to keep everyone safe. Stay safe & be blessed….pslams 91:11, 31:14, & 118:14 πŸ˜‡

  5. Fact: Being vaccinated does not make you immune, stop you from getting infected, or transmitting covid. Mandatory pretest should have been required for all visitors and returning residents to Hawaii regardless of vaccination status. Unfortunately real science has now become fringe and state backed science has become real.

  6. The insurance coverage is not up front. They put illness on front page and back page says covid not covered. They should have to put limitations on front where you buy it. Very disappointed cost me 2000 dollars. Very unfair.

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