Hawaii Governor David Ige on Wednesday confirmed that the state will kick-off its pre-travel COVID-19 testing program on Oct. 15. The program will allow visitors to come into Hawaii, show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours of arrival, and avoid the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Tests will be offered at CVS and by Kaiser Permanente as part of the agreement the companies made with Hawaii and will reportedly cost about $140 per traveler. The state said it will release some more details about how it will register each tourist’s test, but Ige called the program “an added layer of security” in the state’s effort to balance tourism and safety.
Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green will oversee the program. He said, as part of Ige’s press conference on Wednesday, that the program “definitely provides economic opportunity to our state.”
The program, which was set to start earlier this summer but was postponed because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, could bring some much needed relief to Hawaii’s beleaguered tourism market, which has been essentially shut down since March.
The state had been struggling with unemployment—some estimates but it as high as 25% of the state’s workforce—and a lot of that has come from the hospitality and tourism industries.
The sector, according to reports, is anxious to return to business, with Mufi Hannemann, CEO of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, telling Hawaii News Now this week that “we have 5,000 rooms in Waikiki that are ready to go tomorrow.
During the ASTA Virtual Global Convention last month, Robyn Basso, senior director of Travel Industry Partnerships for The Hawaiian Islands, discussed the tools and resources available to travel advisors to help them learn about, stay up-to-date with, and sell Hawaii. From destination information, sales and marketing resources, and training and certification programs.
The Hawaiian Island advisors resource site features master island specialist courses, Interactive maps of the various islands, and even an e-newsletter to keep subscribers in-the-know.
“Advisors continue to deliver the high value visitors to the Hawaiian islands. And we want them to know the Hawaiian Islands are so much more than sun, sand and surf. They truly offer unlimited surprising experiences for those seeking adventure, health and wellness experiences, foodies, families and of course couples.