It Looks Like Hawaii Tourism Won’t Re-Start August 1 After All

Travel doesn’t just face risk from COVID-19, but from the response to COVID-19, and more importantly from changes in that response. In other words regime uncertainty.

  • A group of Bangladeshis were deported from Italy when changes to entry requirements were imposed while they were enroute (some of them may also have misrepresented their health status).

  • How can you buy tickets now for travel to New York in a few weeks when New York’s list of states whose residents have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival changes based on confirmed case counts? You may make travel plans now only to find that in just a few weeks those plans are no longer possible.

The near future is too unknowable for many people to be able to plan travel. And what happens if you are exposed to someone that tests positive for the virus while you’re gone, and have to self-quarantine instead of returning home?

Perhaps the biggest moving target right now is Hawaii. They announced an August 1 re-opening, where tourists would be able to visit without quarantine on arrival provided they had a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. People have made plans, booked airline tickets and hotels, organized pet sitters, purchased new swimwear and all the other things some people do before taking what and this point probably feels like a much-needed vacation.

However the state’s Lieutenant Governor says the state will postpone its August 1 re-opening with the governor expected to make the announcement “after the weekend.”

Although even this news comes with uncertainty, because though it’s shared by the Lieutenant Governor, who says it’s going to be shared by the governor, he also suggests that the governor may not have finalized the decision.

“The governor has to make this decision. The best approach is to delay so that we’re safer, so we can get control of the virus with a date certain. And then two weeks before that, give an update of where we are right now,” said Green.

Piling on the uncertainty, if there’s a delay the Lieutenant Governor says that it’ll be to some time in the future, where the end date gets announced “two weeks before that” – but this time it’ll be “a date certain.”

Hawaii has had 1139 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 19 people have died.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Uncertainty is a key trait of the Coronavirus pandemic which makes the response to it equally uncertain. Predicting future travel demand is guesswork.

  2. People should clearly understand the risks of booking travel in these times. A delayed opening wouldn’t be unexpected so I sure hope they roll with the punches if a jurisdiction’s plan changes. Traveling is a privilege.

  3. Many of us have been commenting for the last few months that the 2020 travel season just isn’t going to happen. That means not only the summer but also the fall. I don’t understand why people have been rebooking their cancelled trips for dates less than a full year away.

  4. Hawaii, Australia, NZ and many others likely won’t open for tourism until a vaccine is available. Several vaccine developers are aiming for release late this year or early 2021 (pending approval, of course). At that point I expect some places will then require proof of vaccination before admittance, much as is done for yellow fever and other infectious diseases.

  5. @Charlie I would add Winter 2020/21 and Spring 2021 to that. Assuming there is a vaccine early 2021, it has to be disseminated amongst the world population before everything is safe again, not an easy task.
    I expect to see US vacation travel rebound in summer 2021, not so sure about international travel

  6. @Charlie Agreed. People are living in a dream world. 2020 and maybe most if not all of 2021 is shot for major travel. Its going to depend on if they get a vaccine and then how quickly they can roll it out.

  7. I’d like to meet all these “oh no I bought swimwear!” folks you’re referring to.

    Hawai’i is trying to keep its people safe. (And perhaps safe from themselves… they had a bunch of gym outbreaks recently. BUT I BOUGHT SWIMWEAR.

  8. Stupid to be leisure traveling by air at this time or booking non-cancellable hotels. Don’t act surprised if your vacation tanks now or anytime in the near future.

  9. Honestly there is a lot of travel that is still going on currently – coastal Northeastern hotels are pretty crowded as people can get there by car and hotels are open. Same for Coastal Southeast and West. Mountain West hotels are open as well. Travel right now is available if you want it. Hawaii is a tough one.

  10. Just ask Dr. Fauci where is the HIV vaccine that has been in development since ca. 1980.

  11. Gee, I guess they’ll just have to never use that swimwear. And even cancel the pet-sitter. OH THE HUMANITY. Cry me a river.

    Brilliant article Gary: are you trying to lobby them to get their Rona numbers up at the end there? Some manner of petulant complaint? Is that what that’s supposed to be? Seems to me they should be damn proud they’ve kept them so low. TEXAS, on the other hand…

  12. Sven, really, you think Mike is “stupid” to be traveling by air to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? I suspect Mike is an athlete and has excellent health and no respiratory issues. Now if you, Sven, get winded getting up from your recliner to fetch another designer water and a smoke . . . then by all means, do not get on an airplane. Continue to stay home and “safe.”
    BTW, Google US athletes that have died from (not with) Covid 19. Hey take it further, check on the same for politicians. I could save you the exercise but that would be no fun for you.

Comments are closed.