There are many businesses that rely on tourism and sales from inter-island travelers. So for them, the easing of travel restrictions can’t come soon enough.
‘I was looking at 2 types of tourism. One is inter-island and that will definitely affect our omiyage, our manju sales,” said Home Maid Bakery owner Jeremy Kozuki.
The bakery’s crispy manju is a popular treat to fly back home with. Kozuki is anticipating more foot traffic, which will be good for other businesses.
“Not to sound too dramatic but they are dying out there,” said Kozuki. “I think we will survive but I heard, I think 10 or 15-percent of the businesses are not going to be able to open up again.”
The sooner business picks up the better. Kozuki says he was hoping inter-island travel would open sooner than June 16.
“What are we going to learn in 13 days that is going to prevent the spread as far at temperature taking and filling out surveys,” he asked. “I didn’t hear anything that’s going to be different on June 16, so I just figure I don’t see why we can’t open up tomorrow.”
The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association tells us it’s time to move forward and hotels are ready.
“We know that inter-island is critical before we go to the next step and it begins with our local residents and why not,” said Hannemann, President of HLTA.
Hannemann says hotels can’t recoup the losses and you’re not going to see everyone opening up.
“But it’s a good way to start especially with those who are operating, and hopefully they can offer some kamaaina rates as an incentive for them to travel,” he said. “This is graduation season and I’m sure some of them will be very anxious to see their loved ones.”