Just a couple months ago, leaders in Hawaii uttered words very few tourism centric destinations ever do. On August 24th, they basically told tourists to “stay home”, and even said verbatim, that it’s “not a good time to visit Hawaii”.

It takes months, years or even decades to create tourism demand, and far less time to crush it with uncertainty.

That message lasted for September and October, but it’s almost November now, and Hawaii’s is apparently roaring for a boost. After the last message, people are confused about whether they can visit, whether they’ll be welcomed and if the experience is still worth it.

Vaccinations are up, cases are mostly down, and the islands now want to reverse the unfriendly “stay away” message with a very clear “please come” vibe. If you’re thinking about listening, here’s what to expect as travel reopens, including what you’ll need before the trip and what to expect on the Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii Ushers In Visitors

Hawaii is pleased with its progress in turning the pandemic, endemic and is now eager to attract meaningful visitors once again.

Speaking this week, Hawaii’s Governor, David Ige, once again reiterated a desire for people to travel, after previous comments which urged travelers not to do so, unless absolutely necessary.

It’s now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume nonessential travel to and within the state of Hawaii. Beginning November 1, 2021 we want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure, trans-Pacific, and inter-island.”

David Ige, Governor of Hawaii

Hawaii never changed its entry restrictions despite the earlier pleas, so getting in is still as easy as submitting proof of vaccination in advance of travel, to avoid any quarantine or testing requirements. Documents must be uploaded to the Hawaii safe travel app.

Experience In Hawaii Right Now

Hawaii’s largest islands, such as Maui and Oahu are using vaccination passports to confirm entry into many venues, from bars and restaurants to museums and hotels. This isn’t the case on every island, but in busy areas it certainly is.

If you’re not prepared to walk around with proof of vaccination, or where masks in most indoor spaces, it’s probably not the time to visit.

Smaller islands, such as Kauai offer a more laid back experience, and since activities are largely outdoors, these details are less of a factor. Restrictions on large gatherings are also in place on many islands.

A trip to Hawaii could feel pretty normal and totally worthwhile if its planned around fun in the sun, but if plans focus indoors, it’s a different experience right now, just like much of the rest of the world. At least the Hawaiian Islands are actually pulling out the welcome mat, again.

As the US ends travel bans on November 8th, Hawaii is also preparing protocols for all international visitors, who would be eligible to arrive from this date!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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