Testing Visitors to Hawaii

Why Hawaii Visitors Are So Frustrated

When you live in a visitor economy during a pandemic, decisions are difficult to make. Take Hawaii for example. The state needs tourism dollars desperately, but not at the risk of personal safety. In the end, decisions about health should take priority. But transparent and timely communication with your industry stakeholders and visitors is of paramount importance. It is simply the right thing to do but is not happening.

One BOH reader, Eve, stated the situation well:

“I understand the predicament Hawaii finds itself in. However, the Gov needs to make up his mind which way he is going to go. Either way, some segment of Hawaiian society is going to be upset – either those who would hope for a safer opening, or those who are hurting more financially.

On the mainlaind, tourists are looking for somewhere to go. We want to get away from stress, from politics, and from all the bad stuff that 2020 has brought. Hawaii is paradise to us. We’d love to come back. However, we can’t make last-minute changes, or be expected to change vacation dates with employers at the last minute. We have to know more than a few days in advance that you’re bumping the quarantine out again. Personally, I’m not due to come out till November, but in order to get a refund for my lodging, I have to let them know by September, so I’m not holding my breath on that. I’m hoping my flight gets cancelled so I get my money back on that, too. Otherwise, it’ll be a looooonnng time before I come back.”

What visitors want to know:

Is the September 1 date going to be extended? If so, on what basis will the state determine when it will allow quarantine-free travel. Any timely, honest, and candid answer here would be refreshing. Even as late as yesterday, Hawaii’s governor, in spite of all evidence from state medical professionals, would not give a clear call on extending the quarantine into September. In the end, he will definitely pull the plug on September travel, so why wait and cause further consternation for both the travel industry and for visitors? Stringing people along is simply wrong.

Will airfares and accommodations be canceled and refunded? Airlines and hotels (including Hilton Hawaiian Village and Grand Wailea) are already canceling September Hawaii travel proactively, so why does the governor need to seemingly be last to take action and advise the public? Our physician lieutenant governor, however, has already been very clear that a delay needs to occur.

The bottom line is this:

Hawaii visitors have a reasonable right to know what is happening as it impacts them. So do businesses related to travel like hotels, vacation rentals, activity providers, airlines, restaurants, shops, farmers, and more. The airlines want to sell tickets to Hawaii and Hawaii visitors want to buy them. But you can’t keep selling airline tickets and making hotel reservations that simply cannot be used. Period.

Comments? In order for us to publish your comments, please review new policies effective 8/7/20. Comments that don’t comply will not be published. Mahalo for your Kokua!

113 thoughts on “Why Hawaii Visitors Are So Frustrated”

  1. Hello BoH!

    I enjoy your emails, packed full of useful information, and often find helpful advice and additional tidbits of information in the comments.

    Recently I’ve been confused.
    Is “Dave R” a BoH representative?

    Their copious commenting on at this point seems to be nearly every post and subsequent reader comments Is frankly quickly becoming irritating!

    With the excessive commenting it becomes an extension of BoH’s information/beliefs/statements often portraying politics and judgement that I’d hate to prescribe to your site. It’s hard to believe anyone not Directly related to your site has the time and effort for what seems to be hundreds of comments. If I wanted a “Dave R” travel and opinion blog I’d subscribe!
    I want Beat of Hawaii and input from the many not dictating from Dave!

    I hope there’s a way to limit individual’s exposure while maintaining the sanctity of comments. Seeing the views and insights of many is helpful and positive, feeling as if an individual behind the curtain is steering the direction is discomforting.

    Thank you for all that you do!

    1. Hi Jen.

      We have no relationship whatsoever with Dave R. or any of our commentators. Everyone is free to post comments as they would like. So long as they comply with our comment terms, we will post them.


  2. Still no definitive answers as to Preflight Testing? We are scheduled to fly Delta 1397 to Maui in early December.Tickets already paid for in February of this year. Hawaii still has not provided a Definite answer to Whether they Will open to tested Travelers with out having to Quarantine for 14 days at one of your covid hotels? Versus the Condo we have a down payment on?
    Keeping the Travel closed till the first of October with out a Definitive anser is Leaving your Travel Population Hanging.

  3. The Hawai’i Department of Transportation has a very complete COVID quarantine information page.
    I hope it’s OK to post this information on a couple of other threads as well. It might save someone some time and frustration.

    1. Hi Dave.

      Thanks for your close to 200 comments. We did remove the links you had and just wanted to point out that we no longer allow any links in comments. It was simply too hard to manage. We are also no longer editing comments – we either put them up or we don’t. We appreciate your understanding and all of your input.

      Aloha, R/J.

  4. Yeah wants to escape politics then goes right into politics. So demand Hawaii opens so this lady isnt inconvenienced. Ok sure
    NO Matter what IGE does someone is going to be mad about it. Dont make plans to vacation in Hawaii until Hawaii is open. Problem solved. thats what we are doing. We have put our trip off TWICE and we are totally cool with it.
    We only want to come when its safe for us and locals.

  5. Really? Like the Govener can control or predict the virus. Some of we locals have had to cancel our travel plans too.

  6. Hey Guys

    Did you see the video of the lady breaking up a wedding on Waimanalo Beach in O’ahu?

    You talk about so much wrong going on there. I got no problem with her talking to to the folks about the legality of the wedding, but she’s telling them the beach is closed. In the beginning of her video I saw people on the beach she wasn’t telling them to leave.

    It appears the very small wedding party was right on the edge of the beach and property line of the rented home.

    Also why are you videoing then posting it online? That’s not cool!

    The wedding party could be in the wrong here, but the way this was handled was also very wrong.

    1. Hard to know who is more wrong in this incident. From what I’ve found online, the wedding was staged from a short-term rental house (illegal due to COVID) and the officiant has done this before, more than once. The people in the wedding might have been misled into believing it was legal. On the other hand, maybe they just didn’t care. The woman who broke it up said or implied that this sort of thing had been happening and she was sick of it.
      I will say that if I lived next door to an illegal (due to COVID) vacation rental that was the site of repeated violations, at some point I would probably react.
      Context is everything.

  7. I agree, the governor needs to address it ASAP and say this is what it will take to reopen. Then people can make plans. In my case, I cancelled my trip we had planned – about the time the governor extended it the last time. They wanted to reschedule and I said no because I don’t think there is any kind of plan – so there was a cost for not rescheduling. But, I’m not sure when we will come back to the islands – some of the email lists I’m on have said that some of the places my wife and I like to go are closing for good. I just hope the closings continue. However, if the islands stay closed much longer – there will be a bunch more businesses close. It’s sad to see and I do understand the medical infrastructure issues.

    So the lack of a clear plan may delay our next trip for several years.

  8. When the pandemic is throwing us lemons, let’s make lemonade!

    So many of us have vivid memories of our time spent on the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. My husband and I were married on Oahu with our feet in the sand one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. A few years later we moved to the Big Island. Here we are back in OC, California surrounded by fires and missing our semi-annual trips to Hawaii.

    Since we don’t have clarity as to when the Aloha State will open for tourists, bring the Aloha State into your home. The easiest way to do this is through music, either streamed or online. Listen to Keali’i Reichel, some of my favorite songs by Keali’i are Ke Aloha, E O Mai, Maunaleo, He Lei no Kamaile, etc. Also check out IZ’s songs Over the Rainbow, Hawai’i 78, Kaulana Kawaihae, etc. Make your favorite Hawaiian cocktail or a pitcher of POG.

    Think about planting a Plumeria tree, a Hibiscus tree, Ti plants, Dragon Fruit, and some Pygmy Date Palms in your backyard, add some tiki torches (solar or flame), add a water feature and Hawai’i will always be with you.

    I hope everyone will make it back to their favorite place(s) in the islands soon. Aloha!

  9. Mahalo for being on top and often in front of what is or is not happening in Hawai’i. As a winter visitor, I decided to weather the pandemic here and am still on Maui. I plan to go to my mainland home, soon before returning in January. Faced with the possibility of having to quarantine, I decided to look for accommodations at my preferred South Maui resort, the Marriott Wailea Beach. I was disappointed to find that there were no accommodations available that I wanted. Also, I was shocked to find that their usual pricing and reservation processes have changed. 1) There were no special rates (e.g. AAA, Senior); One cannot use points; 3) To secure your reservation, you must give them a credit card which they will immediately charge with a deposit which is fully refundable, if you cancel 90 days prior to scheduled arrival or you will be charged 100% of the reservation! Who really thinks they will know what will happen in Hawai’i 90 days from any date in the future. My impression was that Marriott is poised to prey upon the Hawai’i visitor and capitalize upon the pandemic. I now find that Wailea Beach is under consideration as a hotel for a “tourist bubble.” My disappointment and suspicion are further escalated, especially in light of concerns expressed recently by Congresswoman Gabbard. There are other miscellaneous concerns that seem like an elephant in the room that is ignored. What are my condo landlord and I supposed to do financially about the reservation I have for those two weeks? Do I, as the evil tourist, get stuck with that, too? And yes, I read the many negative comments directed toward tourists, no matter that one sees me here now as kama’āina. Please advise your thoughts on this matter and as appropriate, pass on the concerns of at least one reader.

    1. Hi Karen.

      Thanks for your comment and concerns. We don’t have any answers, but perhaps others will chime in with their thoughts.


    2. Thanks for the information about Marriott. They do sound predatory. If I ever make a reservation with them, I’ll be sure to read the fine print first!

  10. I think most of Hawaii should be treated like a beautiful park. Hopefully a harmonious private and government partnership will be formed to protect the people that live on the islands, visitors and the land.

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