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Closing Hawaii for Korean Tourists?

Should Hawaii allow tourists from South Korea?
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Hawaii is the most isolated place on earth with the next city (San Francisco) 2500 miles away. Hawaiian residents and members of the visitors’ industry are worried about Coronavirus. One case could cripple the State.

A senior member of the Hawaii Visitors Industry wants Korean Tourists banned from visiting Hawaii and told eTurboNews

Close the borders! Our isolation means nothing if we keep bringing people in from countries that have the disease. What if it mutates into something more deadly? WE have no idea how it got to Italy or Iran or how long it stays in a carrier who does not show the disease.

In 2018 228,250 visitors from South Korea went to Hawaii and spent $496.6 million or $2,174,80 per person, per day while on vacation in the Aloha State.

Cutting out Korea from the visitor flow to Hawaii would cost $41.3 million and roughly 19,000 fewer visitors.

Having the Coronavirus in Hawaii would not only kill the entire travel and tourism industry and biggest income earner for the state, but it means putting a fragile island environment and a population of more than 1 million in danger.

The likelihood for a Korean Tourist to arrive in the State having been exposed to COVID 2019 becomes larger by the day. Koreans are allowed to enter the United States without a visa on the ESTA program.

As of today, the Republic of Korea records 977 cases of the virus, up 144 in just one day. There are 11 death, 1 already today,  a female patient who died of acute respiratory failure after being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia only two days earlier, on Feb. 23.

On February 18 Korea had 31 cases. Two days later this number went to 111 and doubled a day later to 209, more than doubling again February 22 to 436. On February 24 the number is 977.

Some Stats on Korean visitors to Hawaii’
Visitor Expenditures: $477.8 million
Primary Purpose of Stay: Pleasure (215,295) vs. MCI (5,482)
Average Length of Stay: 7.64 days
First Time Visitors: 73.6%
Repeat Visitors: 26.4%

Should Hawaii allow tourists from South Korea?

eTurboNews asked readers of the eTN affiliate Hawaii News Online to get their opinion on Korean Visitors to the Aloha State.

The Question: Should Koreans be allowed to continue arriving in Hawaii? Should flights be allowed to operate between Hawaii and the Republic of Korea? Here are some responses from members of the Hawaii travel and tourism community.

I feel we should restrict Koreans and since the incubation time is unproven and it is uncertain if 14 days is enough we should stop ALL ASIAN VISITORS until this pandemic passes critical.

I work in the tourism industry and I believe we shouldn’t allow Korean, Japanese or Chinese to come to Hawaii without getting thoroughly checked if having the virus.

For the safety of all involved, all incoming international passengers should be screened prior to departure and upon arrival.

Korean visitors should be suspended until the situation is clear.

The CDC should make rapid testing (PCR kits for coronavirus and influenza) available in Hawaii for those who are symptomatic and/or have traveled to or had known contact with individuals from areas with a recognized outbreak. This information should be attained upon entry to the US, whether in Hawaii or elsewhere.

We should KEEP OUT ALL TOURISTS from the Asian countries, INCLUDING Koreans. Hawaii should not be made susceptible to those viruses originating from those foreign countries. We don’t need to be worried about having health-related disasters infiltrate our island home. Stop it before it spreads!

Why are you only thinking about the financial impact? What about the. impact of the health and well being of the Kanaka Maoli and the people living in Hawaii? Is it always only about money? We can’t even take care of our homeless!!!!!

No “profiling / specific filtering”, treat everyone the same when they arrive in Hawaii.

eTurboNews reached out to Hawaii Tourism Authority, the State agency in charge to promote travel to the US State. Marisa Yamane, Director of Communications & Public Relations responded. She referred eTN to the Federal Government and would not elaborate on safety measures in place, referring to DOH and CDC.

eTurboNews had been reaching out to State and Federal Health authorities for a week without a response. Coronavirus may make experts speechless and those responsible left with no clue.