Hawaii’s Tourism Industry May Benefit From New Federal Rules | News, Sports, Jobs
HONOLULU (AP) – New federal rules for international travelers are expected to help Hawaii’s crippled tourism industry.
The state’s international market has been almost nonexistent since the pandemic largely halted travel last year.
Last week, the White House relaxed rules that previously barred some foreign travelers from coming to the United States. Foreign visitors can now come with proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 tests.
Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and residents can also travel to the United States from other countries, but they must undergo two tests, once before travel and once after arrival.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Monday that the changes could boost international travel to the islands. It is down 97% from before the pandemic.
Currently, Hawaii only requires proof of vaccination or a single pre-flight test for travelers from the continental United States. The state had also authorized travel with the same rules from certain countries, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Tahiti and the Philippines.
Some see the new rules as more restrictive on Japanese travelers, a major component of Hawaii’s tourism industry.
Dave Erdman, president of a Pacific marketing company, said Japanese media portrayed the new rules differently from US media. The new policy adds a step for Japanese travelers by requiring vaccinations for entry.
“In the US / Hawaii, the media described the change as ‘easing’ restrictions for travelers to come to the United States. said Erdman.
Japan and other key markets for Hawaii tourism have high vaccination rates and authorities expect this trend to continue in the months to come.