Hawaii industries prepare for next month’s out of state tourism


HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are short-term and long-term plans for businesses that rely heavily on tourism.

With Oct. 15 being less than a month away, they said it is time to put some plans into action.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said the local economy is getting another chance at recovery.

Under Oahu’s tier one of its reopening phases, restaurants can reopen for dine-in at half capacity and non-essential businesses can also open-up.

Although many hope the gains will grow with a wider reopening of tourism next month.

“I believe there will be more stores and restaurants and other businesses reopening,” Menor-McNamara said. “It was just challenging without the income the revenue.”  

Menor-McNamara said shops that are now considering reopening had months to prepare for new arrivals and set their COVID-19 procedures in place.

“To ensure the health and safety protocols are implemented at work place,” Menor-McNamara said. “That they have the comprehensive communications plan and aware of what arrival looks like, down to the hotel, down to being out in Waikiki or Lahaina.”  

When it comes to long-term plans, Hawaii Sen. Glenn Wakai said the travel industry needs to look beyond daily visitors. He said it would make sense to reach agreement with large companies to telework from Hawaii.

“Send a hundred of your employees here,” Wakai said. “Give you five floors at a certain hotel. You take it over and give your employees a remote working experience out of Hawaii. You have them stay here three to six months.”  

For visitors who are expected in the immediate future, it is likely they will be limited by restrictions from the city’s recovery framework.

Currently members from the same household are able to dine-out on the same table, some believe those kind of rules are not viable for outsiders.

“Those who are visiting maybe two to three friends rather than a family,” Menor-McNamara said. “They are not staying in the same hotel room. Can actually go to the restaurant and sit on the same table? So I think we need to have a more formal deliberation on that.”

Menor-McNamara and Sen. Wakai will join other industry leaders on Tuesday in a public webinar hosted by the UH Shidler College of Business Alumni Association.

The webinars will continue for the next seven Tuesdays and the conversations will range from plans for reopening tourism to airline industry insights, as the state gears up for a wider reopening.

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