With many rooms empty, hotels offer deserving reward to frontline healthcare heroes

A slow-down in tourism has left many hotels with empty rooms. Now, dozens of properties are offering free staycations to Hawaii's frontline medical workers.
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:05 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The recent slow-down in tourism has left many hotels with empty rooms. Now, dozens of properties are offering free staycations to Hawaii’s worn-out frontline medical workers.

The program is called “Hotels for Healthcare Heroes” and was launched by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. It will start on Sept. 17 and will run every weekend through the end of October.

A similar initiative was launched last year using state funding, but this time around, participating hotels are footing the bill.

More than 50 hotels across the state have signed up to donate free two-night staycations on Fridays and Saturdays to Hawaii doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

“The hospital and clinics will provide a list and then we will take that list and basically match them up with a hotel or resort on that island,” said Mufi Hannemann of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

The county mayors said the staycations will allow these professionals to rest and recharge.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 3,500 COVID hospitalizations and 633 deaths. Many healthcare employees have been working longer hours, extra shifts and holidays to continue providing care.

“We talk about finite resources, there are breaking points in human beings. These people have pushed themselves way beyond their limits,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

“Especially for Hawaii Island where we were probably 50% short of healthcare workers prior to the pandemic and our healthcare workers were already stressed and the pandemic made it so much worse,” added Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth.

This initiative comes at a time when Hawaii’s hotel industry is still hurting.

The recent drop in visitors has led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of room nights.

“This was an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade and make exceptionally good use of them,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

“We know the hotels are going through stress with this pandemic and its incredibly challenging for them. Now, they’ve stepped up again to support our healthcare workers,” said Hilton Raethal of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

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