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Hawaii says goodbye to COVID-19

Hawaii Tourism Authority responds to latest version of HB862
John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority

WIth Hawaii Governor Ige announcing the lifting of most emergency restrictions in place as of December, conservative mask and the travel safe rules will remain.

The meeting industry however will be allowed to reopen.

Decision on restrictions will move from the State to Island counties.

Following a national trend in the United States, the Aloha State of Hawaii also is declaring COVID-19 to be no longer such a serious threat.

Tourism must continue and expand. This business first trend is welcoming news, specifically for the States MICE industry, such as hotels with meeting spaces, the convention center, and meeting venues.

While this is good immediate news for tourism, some are worried it could eventually backfire, despite the statement by authorities, such reopening rules will be there to stay. The State hopes this assurance will return confidence for the sector.

Hawaii claims to have a record-high number of vaccinated people while overlooking that many vaccinated in the State residing elsewhere (domestic or abroad) had received their shot in Hawaii and are now counted to be among the 1.4 million Hawaii residents- what is not true.

eTurboNews asked this question many times, and a clear response had been avoided by the Governor, the mayors, and HTA.

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Even though the death rate did not soften despite the vaccine, and infection rates are continuing moderately, Hawaii follows a national trend in overlooking these numbers to bring business back.

Hawaii Governor David Ige today joined Hawaii’s Mayors in announcing the lifting of many pandemic restrictions on December 1, signaling that Hawaii is once again open for business.

Island County mayors will be able to set their own emergency rules without having to get prior approval from the Governor

The following safety regulations will remain.

  • The Hawaiʻi Safe Travels Program, requiring tests for non vaccinated travelers.
  • The indoor mask mandate;
  • The vaccination or testing requirements for state executive and county employees; and
  • The vaccination or testing requirements for contractors and visitors to state facilities.

“These steps serve to revitalize our visitor industry at an appropriate time, with our state’s vaccination rate ranked among the highest in the nation, coupled with the health safeguards for domestic travelers that are required by Hawaii’s Safe Travels program. The modified federal restrictions on international arrivals and the continuation of Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate provide additional safeguards,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) President & Chief Executive Officer John De Fries.

In addition to today’s announcement from the Governor, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced the lifting of capacity limits and social distancing requirements for events on Oahu, a key to resuming meetings and conventions at the Hawaii Convention Center and various resort properties.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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