Ige surprised by pent up travel demand, but warns of slow recovery

Ige surprised by pent up travel demand, but warns of slow economic recovery

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige says state officials were surprised by the significant demand seen through the pre-travel testing program.

More than 30,000 trans-Pacific travelers have arrived in the islands since Thursday. On the first day of travel, more than 10,000 flew in from the mainland or inter-island.

“It was way more than I anticipated,” said Ige.

But the governor does expect arrivals to slow to 3,000 to 4,000 thousand per day.

“We anticipate that the build back of the travel industry will be slow,” he said.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association says about about 25% of its hotels in Hawaii are now open with 45% expected to open by December 1.

“It’ll be a slow economic recovery,” Ige said.

While many inter-island travelers felt ignored by the state’s reopening Thursday to tourists, Ige says officials could ease restrictions on interisland travel with continued testing.

“It could be possible by the end of October. The trends are looking good," said Ige.

It’s possible that the interisland inter-county quarantine could be ended,” he added.

Ige hopes Japan travelers can come to Hawaii by the end of the year.

“Travel to the US is restricted and we’ve at least got the acknowledgement that they’ll consider Hawaii separate from the rest of the United States,” said Ige.

With Oahu on the verge of moving to Tier 2 next week, holiday gatherings coming up, plus the “twindemic” of COVID and flu, Ige says it’s important to remain vigilant.

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