Governor: Japan’s tough COVID restrictions hindering Hawaii tourism rebound

Hawaii continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 1:15 PM HST|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 1:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige recently traveled to Japan and he says many Japanese want to come to Hawaii, but returning to Japan is a huge hassle due to COVID.

Ige said Japan is requiring post-arrival testing, which often causes long wait times for travelers.

“It took us two hours to get through the airport. You had to take a PCR test. They didn’t release us until we got a negative result,” he said.

“Talking with many of our travel partners, it’s typical that travelers would be in the airport for five hours or more until they could get tested and clearly people don’t want to travel if they don’t want to put up with that.”

Despite being a public official, Ige said he had to be in the airport for nearly two hours.

State leaders say restoring tourism from Japan is vital to Hawaii’s economic recovery.

On Monday, flights from Japan brought just 408 people to Hawaii. Prior to the pandemic, Hawaii saw more than 4,000 people a day from Japan.

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