Hawaii’s hospitality industry prepares for spring break influx of visitors

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Spring break is fast approaching and with it comes concerns about controlling the COVID-19 virus.

The hospitality industry said it is doing its part to make sure people follow the rules with more people expected to travel.

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Airlines and hotels say they expect more people to arrive in the islands, but nowhere as close as to numbers back in 2019. They will be ramping up COVID-19 safety information through video, e-mails and apps, however.

Hawaiian Airlines said, it plays a video from the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Kuleana Campaign to flights coming into the islands. The video goes over some of the important rules visitors need to know before arriving. The Airlines also sends out media updates through its Travel Pono content series.

“As people book with us and start to get pre-trip e-mails, all of that content is embedded in those e-mails to help people plan for their trip on board,” said Avi Mannis, Hawaiian Airlines Marketing senior vice president. “We’ve worked with partners to have some video components that speak to what to do when you’re here and how to behave.”

Hotels are also doing their part to keep travelers informed.

“More signage. Some hotels are using QR codes to get them around. Also, there’s more of pre-notification emails are being sent out a week in advance to let them know what to expect when they come,” said Mufi Hannemann, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president.

He said, more hotel staffers will also be available to help.

“We know when it’s going to be a much busier time of year. So certainly, that requires more eyes on the ball if you will, and in this particular case, if manpower is needed to do that, then obviously they will bring in additional staff to handle that,” said Hannemann.

Spring break has led to large parties and floatillas in previous years. Currently, gatherings on Oahu are currently limited to ten people and the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) said, it will be enforcing the rules. HPD said it will be increasing beach patrols and monitoring social media for large gatherings during the spring break period.

The state Department of Health said, people should still hold off on traveling — even with low COVID-19 cases in the islands.

“Travel, especially unnecessary travel, elevates the risk to not only yourself but to everybody,” said Brooks Baehr, Hawaii Department of Health spokesman. “We’d like to ask people not to travel unless it’s necessary travel.”

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