Aloha Bruce is delighted to welcome co-host Lanai Tabura back into the recording studio (at a safe 6-foot distance, of course!) to talk about the Next steps for reopening Hawaii for the newest Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast. Our hosts riff on the term “social distancing” and discuss what it means for Hawaii as the Aloha State contemplates reopening its economy during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Lanai recommends that Hawaii vacationers book for October and beyond as Hawaii is considering reopening slowly. Bruce and Lanai make the important point that the situation “on the ground” in Hawaii is fluid and changing quickly.
Lanai says that even if Hawaii’s restrictions and quarantine requirements are lifted on May 31 as currently planned, most businesses won’t be fully open to pre-pandemic levels for at least another month. He also mentions that flights will be booked according to social distancing concerns. Both hosts say that now is a good time to book Hawaii travel months ahead.
Bruce notes the cancellation of direct flights to Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island from the mainland and how that may affect the cost of interisland travel. Lanai says masks will be mandatory for air travel. He also notes that he has planned travel to Italy in August but he is still unsure of how the trip will pan out and draws a parallel for travelers to Hawaii.
Bruce explains how Hawaii Aloha Travel protection works and why it is a good idea to take out travel insurance. He also explains that new developments may change how travel plans are made. He mentions a listener who is encouraged by the podcast’s outlook for reopening Hawaii. Lanai says that Hawaii has “flattened the curve” and that things are likely to be opening more fully in June. He also notes that most Hawaii residents do not want visitors right now as we work to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Bruce and Lanai also discuss the booking and seating policies of Hawaii-bound airlines. Another listener has plans for a honeymoon Hawaii vacation in mid-June, coming from Montana, where the coronavirus rate is lower than even Hawaii’s. Lanai mentions Kauai’s mayor locking the Garden Isle down before any of Hawaii’s other mayors shut down their counties.
The conversation moves to how tourism will be affected in the aftermath of the pandemic. Lanai compares the pandemic to 9/11 and says that it took Hawaii a year and a half to return to pre-attack levels of Hawaii arrivals. He believes that Hawaii will bounce back quicker than that, but it will still happen slowly.
Lanai also discusses the major efforts made by airlines to sanitize aircraft beyond pre-pandemic policies. He says that people are going to be much more mindful of cleanliness. He predicts that more and more people will move away from using cash, and our hosts talk about how luaus, restaurants, and buffets are likely to be impacted in the wake of the pandemic.
“Book your tours!” says Lanai. “But just not for right now. Maybe more towards the end of the year.”