Honolulu (KHON2) – A tourism hui of power players have teamed up with a new campaign called ‘Makaukau Hawai‘i’ to show that Hawai‘i is ready to safely welcome back visitors.
Makaukau Hawai‘i is a partnership between the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, and Hawaiian Airlines that highlights the preparations Hawai‘i’s private sector has taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our readiness to re-open for business.
“We needed the business community to work together and to collaboratively emphasize the same positive message of the importance of tourism to the state’s overall economy,” says Mufi Hannemann, President & CEOof the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association. “We also wanted to demonstrate the meticulous steps that businesses had gone through to ensure that they were ready to open for business in a safe and healthy way. And we also wanted to portray the eagerness of employees wanting to return to work.”
Hannemann adds the partnership is one of a kind saying, “It is unique because prior to this collaboration we were all working in silos promoting the interests of our respective business sectors. We have found tremendous benefits and results by working as closely as we are now.”
Since Tourism re-opened on October 15th, the immediate reaction explains Hannemann was “elation that we finally had a date to target for re-opening and that with more businesses coming back online we could put more people back to work.”
The State has seen a major reduction of travelers coming into the state arriving with a positive COVID-19 test. “We have seen a small uptick in Hawai‘i’s businesses,” explains Hannemann. “The jury is still out on the impact that the new pre-arrival test requirement will have on tourism to Hawai‘i.”
“For the foreseeable future, despite some well-intentioned efforts to diversify the economy for decades, we will still be very dependent,” says Hannemann. “We’re dependent on an industry, such as tourism, that had contributed $17 billion to the state, over $2 billion in taxes, and employed over 200,000 people in 2019. 2021 is still going to be a challenging year economically because the threat of the virus continues to hover us which will serve as a deterrent for visitors travelling to Hawai‘i and elsewhere.”
According to Hannemann, the latest reliable tourism statistics reveal that we could only be at 41% occupancy by the end of next year. Based on the information we have now on the economic forecast, “the obvious solution to bolster our economic fortunes is a vaccine,” stresses the HLTA Leader.
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