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Aloha Bruce and Yaling Fisher bring listeners the latest Hawaii Vacation news and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hawaii tourism on this latest episode of the Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast. Bruce reminds listers that the best way to reach Hawaii Aloha Travel is through support@hawaii-aloha.com and through the HAT Facebook page.

Bruce recalls a Honolulu Star-Advertiser front page, above-the-fold story in which the Hawaii Visitors Visitors & Convention Bureau asked travel agencies and publications to refrain from promoting Hawaii as a vacation destination as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to threaten everyone in the Aloha State. “You might as well ask me not to breathe!” says Bruce.

Bruce recalls a HAT received a message from HVCB about a blog post from early February saying “All Clear” regarding the coronavirus in Hawaii. At the time the blog was published, it was 100% accurate – there were no reported cases in the islands. The post was immediately removed once HVCB made clear its concerns.

Bruce and Yaling discuss a statement recently issued by Hawaii Aloha Travel on the blog and on Facebook that firmly states HAT’s commitment to public health and safety, and that HAT is actively discouraging travel to Hawaii. (Read the statement here).

Our hosts note that HAT is helping re-book visitors affected by travel restrictions and encouraging visitors to postpone Hawaii travel plans until recovery efforts are well underway. Bruce and Yaling are hopeful that things will begin getting back to normal in June.

Yaling offers a list of hotels, including the Massive Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort in Waikiki, that have been close. The Grand Wailea, the Waikiki Beach Marriott, Sheraton Maui have all been closed, in some cases “until further notice”. Our hosts encourage clients with Hawaii vacation plans to contact Hawaii Aloha Travel for answers about traveling to the Aloha State during this unprecedented crisis.

Bruce and Yaling also discuss airfares in October being very reasonable from a variety of mainland departure points, for both Maui and Oahu. Bruce reminds listeners that Hawaii Aloha Travel offers travel insurance protection that will allow clients to change their booking if the current crisis continues to affect Hawaii travel in the months ahead. Bruce discusses the value of travel protections, and the importance of it in uncertain times.

Aloha Bruce and Yaling offer friendly shoutouts to regular podcast listeners like Rick and Pam, who are great friends of the Podcast. Bruce mentions listener Amanda, who is an essential working looking to book a Hawaii vacation in February and seeks tropical drink recipes. Bruce offers a simple recipe for a classic Mai Tai for Amanda. Yaling suggests a tropical drinks party Zoom for podcast listeners.

Bruce and Yaling note that they are keen to hear feedback from listeners and ask listeners to the podcast to send a message. Bruce notes a question from a client whose mother is critically ill in Orlando, Forida with COVID-19, and that he is trying to arrange flights for his brother in Hawaii to visit. Bruce says the man’s brother, a Hawaii resident, will be subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine required of all Hawaii air travel arrivals.

Bruce notes that many of the quarantine cases are on a good-faith basis. “They’re not gonna put a bracelet on you.” But our hosts do recall several arrests of visitors who have disregarded quarantine measures in place on the Garden Isle of Kauai, which has the most stringent restrictions in the state.

Yaling offers Hawaii vacation news and hard data about Hawaii arrivals, including some 400-500 visitors who have completed the 2-week quarantine period. Bruce notes that Hawaii Aloha Travel has offered its Waikiki condominium to medical first responders who have not tested positive but need to isolate from their families, but there has been some confusion in implementation.

Aloha Bruce and Yaling discuss the number of cases in Hawaii and say that they are proud of Hawaii residents for being diligent about following isolation guidelines and mitigation measures meant to keep residents and visitors safe. The number of cases in Hawaii is relatively low compared to other parts of the US and world.

Bruce talks about a letter received from Donna, who has family being sheltered at home in Michigan for weeks, and the 2-week extension recently announced there. Donna is caring for her mother, who is in a high-risk group, and the ways that the COVID-19 has affecter her community.

Bruce notes the Share the Aloha program, which connects local restaurants with Hawaii’s vulnerable and elderly (“kupuna” ) population. Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast host Lanai Tabura is intimately involved in the efforts, which has resulted in him being unable to make time for the podcast because of the amount of work Share Aloha requires.

Aloha Bruce and Yaling Fisher sign off with best wishes for good health and safety to all Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast listeners and notes that bookings are available now for travel between October and February 2021.