A New Zealand travel bubble with Australia might be off the cards for the time being with plans dashed after both countries’ second wave, but now Hawaii has floated a similar idea.
As tourism is such a key component of the island nation’s economy, the Hawaiian government is thinking of creating a COVID-19 travel bubble with other countries in the Pacific including Australia.
And it could be happening as early as October.
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Governor of Hawaii David Ige said in a press conference on Tuesday August 18, that he was considering allowing non-American tourists on the island as early as October 1, to kickstart the ravaged tourism industry.
Hawaii hasn’t been hit as hard by the coronavirus pandemic as many other US states, in large part thanks to its island status.
The palm tree nation has reported 6356 coronavirus cases so far, at time of writing, relatively low for the USA.
The low numbers remain despite mainland Americans being able to travel to Hawaii as tourists.
Now Governor Ige wants to expand Hawaii’s tourist pool with other trans-Pacific countries such as Japan and Australia.
“I have been working with mayors of all the counties to identify ways we can bring travellers back more quickly,” he said.
Those plans include “geo-fencing” at resorts, where the properties would take responsibility for quarantining arriving guests for 14-days.
“We are looking at exploring all options to safely bring trans-Pacific travellers to the island.”
However, he recognises that a mandatory two-week quarantine isn’t very appealing for new arrivals, and has been thinking of ways to fast-track it.
On July 13, Governor Ige said he would allow travellers to enter the state freely if they had a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.
However, this plan has been postponed three times due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. It is now expected on October 1.
“All individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving from out-of-state to Hawaii are still subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine,” the Hawaii Tourism Authority confirmed.
“The start of the state’s Pre-Travel Testing Program has been delayed to October 1, at the earliest.”