October 15 marked one year since Hawaiʻi’s Safe Travels program was established. The program is described as a multilayered process designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
This enhanced entry into Hawai‘i includes: a Mandatory State of Hawai‘i Travel and Health Form; a Safe Travels Hawai‘i account; and a mandatory 10-day quarantine with the option of a vaccination exception program or a negative pre-travel test to bypass quarantine.
Back in August, Governor David Ige urged residents and visitors to refrain from non-essential travel through the end of October. With Nov. 1 on the horizon, leisure travel is set to resume, but the state’s Safe Travels program remains in place.
Last week, Gov. Ige announced he was giving the green light to non-essential travel for fully vaccinated residents and visitors traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure, starting Nov. 1. “I think we are all encouraged by what we’ve seen over the last several weeks with the continuing trend of lower case counts,” said Gov. Ige in a press release.
County of Maui Managing Director, Sandy Baz said he expects the Safe Travels program to be in place “for quite a while.” In a Tuesday press briefing Baz said, “Lieutenant Governor [Josh] Green has said that despite the statewide vaccination rate of 73%, the program will be extended at least through the end of the holiday season.”
Baz spoke on behalf of Mayor Michael Victorino, who is out of town on county business, saying, “Mayor Victorino thanks the hospitality industry for their support of the safety protocols and these revised rules. The hospitality industry [goes] far beyond resort and hotels, and includes many family owned activity companies, restaurants, and many other businesses that are impacted, and are supportive of visitors.”
“They have worked diligently to protect their staff as well as their guests with a challenging business environment,” said Baz. He also extended thanks to small business advisors to the Office of the Mayor, saying the group, “provided input that helped us to contain the rapid spread of the Delta variant over the past several weeks.”
The following graph was prepared by the County Office of Economic Development as part of its Monthly Economic Indicators report. The data shows Visitor Arrivals By Air By County from 2017 to 2020. The data was released at the end of September, and the next monthly indicators report is due out at the end of this month.
According to Baz, the industry continues to make steady progress on the Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan. The plan was developed by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority with input from the Mayor’s Office, as well as many others in the visitor industry. The next step in the process will be soliciting input from the community through a series of upcoming meetings.
Click on the following link to view the full Maui Destination Management Action Plan Summer 2021 Progress Report.