Kauai has come back online as of this week as it rejoined the rest of the state in the Hawaii Safe Travels program. Moreover, Hawaii travel is in an unexpected and maybe unprecedented boon. That, while international travel and other exotic destinations remain off the table for now due to COVID restrictions. Furthermore, the resumption of travel is a good thing, and we know many people who have been able to go back to work here, for the first time in more than a year. It comes too at a good time since Hawaii ranks last in the country on key economic indicators due to our previously decimated tourism economy.
Yesterday, Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki from Honolulu had an interesting reaction to the sudden rebound that caught all of us by surprise. He said that while we thought tourism’s return would be slow and safe, it is definitely anything but slow. He further commented on what we already know. Come June, he said, the lid is off, and tourism will be back at full capacity. From then through the end of 2021, booking numbers are even exceeding those in 2019.
Saiki is a big proponent of removing testing requirements starting with interisland travel and, in fact, and suggested that occur months ago. That message has been seconded again this week by both Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO Peter Ingram and by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s president Mufi Hannemann.
How will tourism rebound impact Hawaii residents?
We are glad you are back! But remember never to let your guard down when it comes to COVID. Visitors and residents need to team together on this. That means, among other things, that everyone mask up and to practice social distancing at least for now. We’ll also be facing the potential for some unexpected crowding on highways and beaches. It’s a great chance for all of us, both residents and visitors, to practice Aloha.
Before COVID, social distancing was already in place with sea turtles and monk seals (like the ones pictured above) on the beach. Keep giving sea creatures space and humans too who are not in your family. We can get through this together while enjoying everything Hawaii has to offer.