A couple days ago, during a televised meeting with Hawai'i's county mayors, Governor Ige stated the 14-day quarantine will extend beyond June 30, the previously announced sunset date for this policy. However, Gov. Ige did not announce the date to which the quarantine period would be extended. As I have said constantly, our industry needs better communication from our leaders. The continued ambiguity is not only causing anxiety for our entire industry, but also making it far more difficult for stakeholders to make the necessary preparations for reopening.
We will continue to urge our local elected officials to communicate clear reopening timelines and benchmarks. Continuing down this path is clearly unsustainable and we must pivot toward our recovery as soon as possible.
An article that recently ran in Civil Beat echoed these sentiments and drilled down into the implications of keeping the tourism industry shuttered. While the general public may think that hotels are saving money by suspending operations, we know that this is not the case.
“The public and the government leaders have no idea,” said Mufi Hannemann, a former Honolulu mayor who is now president and chief executive of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. “You look at a hotel that’s shuttered, they think we’re saving money — we’re not.”
Moreover, the effects of a prolonged shutdown will undoubtedly affect numerous business sectors and industries in Hawai'i. The downturn will not be relegated just to tourism. Everything from agriculture, textile services, security, the service industry, and even the government will be negatively impacted if the lodging industry does not begin the recovery process soon.
And it’s more than just jobs at stake, Hannemann said.
It should be noted, however, that Gov. Ige did also report that he has been working closely with the four mayors to establish a plan to reopen interisland travel and that an announcement can be expected in the next several days. This is welcome news as HLTA has continued to advocate for the interisland quarantine policy to be lifted as soon as possible.
"Hawaii senators support effort for ‘travel bubble’ agreement with Japan," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 28, 2020
Successfully managing any organization, or industry, through a crisis often comes down to sussing out creative solutions to new problems. HLTA Member Central Pacific Bank's Chairman & CEO Paul Yonamine and the Hawaii Executive Collaborative received "preliminary blessing" from state lawmakers while proposing a pilot "travel-safety bubble" between Hawai'i and Japan to the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19. These are the kinds of ideas and creative thinking that we must continue to rely upon as we seek out new ways to both keep our home safe and restore our economy.
I was heartbroken to learn of the unexpected passing of Kaulana Pakele, longtime lead vocalist for Mana'o Company.
He was a gifted performer who was blessed with a versatile voice that helped to solidify Mana'o Company as one of Hawai'i's favorite Jawaiian bands.
My heart goes out to the Pakele 'ohana, Kaulana's Mana'o Company family, and all those who were touched by Kaulana's music.
Mahalo to KZOO for inviting me to discuss the current state of tourism in Hawai'i. The interview was live-streamed in Japan. Special shoutout to Hula Grill for hosting us and letting us use their amazing view as the backdrop.
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