Aloha Bruce is again joined remotely by co-host Lanai Tabura for the newest Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast. For this episode, our hosts discuss Hawaii Tourism Realities and Hawaii’s readiness for a post-COVID world. As Hawaii remains in a virtual shutdown with mandatory quarantines for arrivals, closed hotels and resorts, and shuttered businesses from Hilo to Hanalei, industry experts are looking at the impacts to come for tourism in Hawaii.
Bruce notes that the State Department of Health Director is optimistic about coronavirus containment in Hawaii, and that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will partially reopen City parks beginning this weekend. Lanai says that Hawaii residents are following the rules for social distancing and that perhaps waiting another month might be the best way to reopen Hawaii.
Bruce notes that international flights are set to resume at the end of April and wonders: “Where are we going to put these people?” Our hosts discuss different takes on reopening Hawaii tourism and Lanai says frankly, “I wouldn’t come until July.” It’s his opinion that some Hawaii residents may regard visitors who come to Hawaii before the state is prepared following the pandemic as selfish.
Lanai also says that he wants Hawaii Tourism to reopen as much as anyone and notes his own situation with the shutdown. He says that he would advise visitors to wait one month after Hawaii opens back up to come to the Aloha State.
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Our hosts talk about efforts that Hawaii tourism industry officials could take to prepare for the new reality Hawaii residents and visitors face. Lanai discusses plans in New York City to reopen slowly and agrees with the strategy.
Bruce talks about the lack of plans in place in Hawaii and our hosts agree that the situation is unprecedented. Lanai also notes the lack of coronavirus testing, but both hosts agree that “we’re doing pretty good here”. Bruce asks Lanai about getting sick while traveling (Lanai is fine!), because Lanai travels all over the world.
The conversation moves to Lanai’s home island of Lanai, which has yet to report a single case of coronavirus. They talk about choosing an island for your Hawaii vacation, and Lanai says “you don’t want to get the locals pissed” by coming to Hawaii too soon. Both of our hosts agree that simply “pulling the plug” on tourism in Hawaii is not going to happen.
Lanai also talks about the success of the Show Aloha Challenge program that is helping to feed thousands of Hawaii seniors (or “kupuna”) while supporting Hawaii restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdown. The organization has reached nearly $600,000 in donations. Lanai says that with the help of Meals on Wheels they are serving nearly 1000 meals per day. He also notes a Show Aloha event on Sunday that will see Show Aloha distribute 1000 meals from a variety of local restaurants and businesses he names. Lanai encourages listeners to go www.showalohachallenge.com to learn more about their efforts.