Hawaii Officials to Tighten Travel Rules for Visitors' Safety

  • Hawaii officials are implementing new measures, from the airport to accommodations, to crack down on scofflaws.

  • The Hawaii Tourism Authority launched a media campaign telling prospective visitors to stay home until the Islands are ready for them.

  • According to an HTA report submitted to the Hawaii Senate Committee on Covid-19, roughly 70% of the hotels contacted agreed to participate in the initiative.


On March 15, Gov. David Ige publicly pleaded for visitors to postpone their Hawaii vacations and business trips and followed up a few days later with the quarantine measure. Since mid-March, the majority of hotels have closed, vacation rentals have been ordered to halt operations, beach activities have been extremely limited, and all but essential businesses have shuttered.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority launched a media campaign telling prospective visitors to stay home until the Islands are ready for them, and the agency, through the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, has been funding return flights for visitors who are not able to quarantine.

Still, like party guests who can't read the room and overstay their welcome, people keep arriving in Hawaii despite the quarantine order and the best efforts of multiple state agencies to discourage travel to the Aloha State.

From March 26, when the quarantine went into effect, through April 30, an average of 125 visitors arrived in Hawaii airports each day -- a far cry from the 30,000 daily arrivals at normal times, but concerning for state officials, who would prefer zero arrivals. Although Ige has extended the quarantine order through June 30, visitation ticked up when the calendar turned from April to May. Through the first 10 days of the month, an average of 233 visitors have landed daily.

Reports of quarantine violators are flooding in, and now the state is looking to bolster its methods to guarantee compliance, including a newly launched system designed to help monitor the movement of hotel guests.

Despite these efforts at the airports, we have been receiving consistent reports from members of the public

~ Mayor Kirk Caldwell the Hawaii Senate Special Committee on Covid-19


"They have observed, through social media or in person, travelers blatantly violating the quarantine orders.

"This is particularly frustrating for members of the public who are complying with the stay-at-home/stay-safe declarations imposed by the state and county in good faith. All the while, watching others flaunt their noncompliance with complete disregard for not only our laws but the health concerns behind these laws. Disturbingly, we have also received reports the City and County of Honolulu have avoided addressing these public concerns of noncompliance with regularity."

Spurred by demands for tighter enforcement, the HTA has been contacting the 91 hotels that have remained open during the crisis, some of which are housing medical personnel, National Guard and other essential workers, to sign them up for a "single-use key" program. Hotel guests would be given room keys that work only once. If they leave the room after entry, they would need to contact the front desk to access the room again.

According to an HTA report submitted to the Hawaii Senate Committee on Covid-19, roughly 70% of the hotels contacted agreed to participate in the initiative, with more than 20 properties yet to be reached. Four hotels had declined to participate as of May 9, at least one because it uses hard keys that cannot be programmed. One gave no explanation and another argued that its "apartment-style" accommodations precluded it from participating. Management at the Grand Naniloa Hotel on Hawaii Island said it could not currently comply with the program because state officials are failing to notify them of guests subject to quarantine prior to their check-in and they are short-staffed while housing National Guard members and local residents.

The state attorney general's office told the Senate committee on April 24 that it is also examining the legality and viability of other enforcement methods, including designated quarantine sites, ankle bracelets, facial recognition and GPS tracking.

The Department of Transportation and HTA have been working together to monitor arrivals, but the process has proven challenging. After deplaning, passengers' contact information and address while in Hawaii is verified while they also undergo a medical screening including temperature check. Recently, the state has added new questions to an agricultural form all arrivals fill out to glean more information about each passenger, including nature of the visit and expected departure date.

In a two-week period from mid-April to the end of the month, after the DOT stepped up enforcement, 27 visitors were forced to leave Hawaii for quarantine violations or lacking proper lodging and 330 arrivals were referred to law enforcement, according to a May 2 update to the Senate committee.

The hotels are notified of guests subject to quarantine, and both at the airport and the hotel, visitors are asked to fill out forms in which they acknowledge they are aware of the quarantine, which means they can only leave their room for "medical emergencies or to seek medical care" with no access to fitness centers, restaurants or other public areas.   

State employees have been calling new arrivals to do spot check-ins to confirm compliance with the quarantine, but during a May 7 meeting of the Senate Covid-19 committee, officials acknowledged most of the contact numbers are for mobile phones and physical checks may be needed.

Quarantine violators are subject to arrest, a $5,000 fine and imprisonment for up to a year. While some visitors have been arrested, brought before a judge and sent home, the flow of arrivals continues.

Learn More: DIGITAL MARKETING IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS - WHAT TRAVEL BRANDS NEED TO KNOW

Spotlight

Spotlight

Related News

Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Sabre and IAG expand partnership with multi-year distribution agreement including NDC content

PR Newswire | January 11, 2024

Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider to the global travel industry, has entered into a multi-year distribution agreement with International Airlines Group (IAG) that will expand their existing partnership and further promote modern travel retailing practices. The agreement will allow Sabre-connected travel buyers and agencies to sell traditional EDIFACT content as well as having competitive access to NDC offers from British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling – including Additional Price Points and ancillaries – through the Sabre travel marketplace globally. This enhanced content will provide travel agencies with a wider range of options to compare and shop for, while travelers will benefit from an improved experience with more choice and transparency. Sabre and IAG's airlines are working closely together and will communicate as NDC content is rolled out to Sabre-connected travel agencies on a carrier-by-carrier basis. The agreement between Sabre and IAG underscores the industry's shift towards modern travel retailing, where airlines can differentiate their offerings and provide more personalized experiences to travelers. Both Sabre and IAG are committed to advancing the NDC standard as a key component in the industry's evolution towards modern airline retailing enabled by offers and orders. Colm Lacy, British Airways' Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We are on a journey to A Better BA and we continue to invest across the business as part of that commitment. Not only are we improving the experience of those customers who fly with us, but also the way we work with our valued travel agent and travel buyer partners. We understand how valuable retailing is to them, and IAG's partnership with Sabre allows us to make a wide range of attractable offers available even further across the globe." This agreement is another milestone in the IAG strategy to embrace digital retailing practices and offer more opportunities for customers to access NDC content. The partnership with IAG demonstrates Sabre's continued commitment to driving value and serving the diverse interests of the global travel ecosystem. "We are very excited about what's ahead. The travel industry is entering a new era of personalized retailing that will bring better experiences for travelers and new revenue opportunities for airlines and travel agencies," said Roshan Mendis, Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. "It's fantastic to work with a strong, forward-thinking partner like IAG that is just as committed as we are to driving the industry forwards."

Read More

Hospitality Trends, Cruise

Viking Launches New "Discover More" Sale

Viking | January 04, 2024

Viking® today announced the Discover More sale, providing North American travelers with a variety of new booking incentives across the company's collection of river, ocean and expedition voyages. From now through January 31, 2024, Viking is offering special fares, up to free airfare and a $25 deposit on all itineraries—as well as additional savings for both new and returning guests. "For more than 26 years, we have invited curious travelers to explore the world in comfort. We focus on the destination, and we design travel experiences for the thinking person. This approach has always allowed our guests to discover more history, science and culture when they travel with us," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "As this new year begins, we look forward to welcoming returning guests back on board, as well as introducing new travelers to the Viking way of exploration." Viking now explores all seven continents, with river, ocean and expedition voyages calling in more than 500 ports in more than 85 countries. Highlights of the company's most popular itineraries include: Viking Homelands (15 days; Stockholm – Bergen) – Sail historic waters and discover more of Scandinavia with overnights in Stockholm, Oslo and scenic Bergen. See charming Ålborg and Gdańsk, and visit the grand cities of Berlin and Copenhagen. Witness breathtaking scenery from your ship as she glides through majestic Norwegian fjords in the legendary homelands of the Vikings. Empires of the Mediterranean (10 days; Venice – Athens) – Ten days. Nine magnificent destinations. One epic journey. Sail the Adriatic and Aegean, taking in all the riches of this fabled region. On an exploration bookended by iconic Venice and Athens, discover the ancient ruins of Olympia and the Acropolis. Explore the medieval warrens of Zadar and Dubrovnik, and admire the famed whitewashed villages of Santorini. Delight in the beauty of Corfu and be captivated by Koper, the gateway to picturesque Slovenia. Rhine Getaway (8 days; Amsterdam – Basel) – Explore one of Europe's best-loved rivers. Discover the turreted fortresses, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and stunning scenery of the Middle Rhine—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste the region's renowned white wines, the roots of its terraced vineyards reaching back to Roman times. Savor the various culinary traditions of Alsace. With calls in Amsterdam, Cologne and Basel, this journey reveals a rich landscape of beauty and culture. Danube Waltz (8 days; Budapest – Passau) – Soak up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath. Learn to waltz at a Viennese dance school. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest. Admire the Wachau Valley's beauty. Explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau. Witness daily monastic life on an exclusive visit to Göttweig Abbey. This eight-day itinerary reveals the best of these places while cruising leisurely through spectacular scenery. Great Lakes Collection (15 days; Ontario – Duluth) – Join Viking for a unique voyage across the historic waterways of all five of the majestic Great Lakes. Experience culture-rich urban centers and admire the awesome power of thundering Niagara Falls. Explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. Study the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes as you journey and venture into the dense boreal forests that line the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Antarctic Explorer (13 days; Buenos Aries – Ushuaia) – This ultimate adventure takes you to the Antarctic peninsula, where you will witness towering glaciers, snow-covered landscapes, immense icebergs and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing. In the footsteps of explorers such as Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott, you will be one of the few to discover the world's last truly wild frontier. Each day brings new surprises and the opportunity to change plans to maximize wildlife sightings and adapt to ever-changing weather. Heart of the Delta (12 days; New Orleans - Memphis) – Immerse yourself in history and heritage on this journey bookended by New Orleans and Memphis. Attend a Privileged Access Mississippi Delta blues experience in Greenville and be inspired by the stories of famed musicians and iconic civil rights heroes. Savor delicious Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as Memphis's famous barbecue. And stir your soul with the rhythms of Dixieland jazz, Delta blues and gospel.

Read More

Business Travel, Airlines and Airports

interCaribbean Announces Upcoming Launch of Non-Stop Flights Between Bridgetown and Kingston

InterCaribbean Airways | January 08, 2024

In a significant development for Caribbean regional travel, interCaribbean Airways is excited to announce the upcoming launch of its new non-stop flight service connecting Bridgetown, Barbados, and Kingston, Jamaica. Scheduled to commence on February 6th, 2024, this service will mark a new chapter in the connectivity between these two major Caribbean destinations. Bridgetown, the Southern Caribbean hub for interCaribbean, will see flights to Kingston on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with return flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Operated by interCaribbean's CRJ700 Jet aircraft, this route will be the only non-stop service between Bridgetown and Kingston. "We are proud to introduce this non-stop service, which is a direct response to the growing need for improved travel connectivity in the Caribbean," said Trevor Sadler, CEO of interCaribbean. "This new route is set to enhance both business travel and tourism, bringing these two vibrant cities closer." This new service also introduces convenient one-stop connections for passengers traveling from southern destinations such as Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Georgetown, Antigua, and Dominica, further expanding the reach and impact of the route. These connections will significantly enhance the travel experience for passengers, providing more efficient and streamlined travel options within the Caribbean. With the introduction of the Bridgetown-Kingston service, interCaribbean continues to expand its network, reinforcing its role as a key player in Caribbean aviation and contributing to stronger connections within the region.

Read More