HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige announced that fully vaccinated residents and non-residents can resume non-essential travel to and within the state starting on Nov. 1.
The announcement came in a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the new international terminal at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Kona.
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In a news release, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association stated, “The local tourism industry is pleased that Governor Ige signaled today that he is ready to welcome non-essential travelers back to Hawai‘i beginning November 1. While we recognize that there are still details that need to be sorted out—paying special mind to input from the county mayors and information provided by the healthcare community and the business sector—this announcement is an important first step toward getting our economy moving again safely and judiciously.”
Gov. Ige called for a halt to non-essential travel on Aug. 23 amid a surge in COVID cases and critical capacity levels at hospitals.
After the governor’s announcement, lodging cancelations and much lower occupancy levels hit hotels hard, coming on the heels of a rebound in the tourism industry during the summer months.
The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said, at the time, in a statement:
“Since the governor’s request for nonessential travel to halt, the industry has seen cancellations increase and occupancy cut nearly in half in some instances. Some hotels have been forced to offer discounts in order to keep operating, and all of this taking place during our normal slow season.”
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The governor cited Hawaii’s decline in coronavirus numbers over the last several weeks, less COVID patients in hospitals and a healthier health care system for Tuesday’s announcement.
“We want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure, Trans-Pacific or inter-island,” Ige said.