Starting November 8, international travelers who have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations may enter the United States. Federal authorities have prohibited international travel for leisure purposes since March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the pandemic status of COVID-19.
Of all 50 states plus the territories of the USA, Hawaii remains the most popular vacation destination for international travelers. The pandemic resulted in a huge hit to Hawaii’s economy, and government officials and business owners alike look forward to the return of international guests.
John De Fries, Hawaii Tourism Authority President, advocates for the return of international guests. He wants the Hawaiian state Safe Travels program to expand to foreign travelers.
According to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Governor David Ige, the Safe Travels program will persist. The two expect the number of international travelers arriving in Hawaii to increase at a steady pace through the holiday season.
For business owners, this welcome news will help the local Hawaiian economy. One tourism analyst explained that international guests tend to stay longer and spend more freely than domestic guests, so the return of international travelers promises to revive the state’s sluggish tourism sector.
Hawaii ranks 49th for total cases of COVID-19 in the USA. As of October 18, the state reported 82,511 cases.
Overall, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States per day has dropped by 50% since the peak of the delta wave, which occurred around September 1. The average number of daily cases in October has hovered around 92,000.
An increase in employer mandates and FDA approval for booster shots may increase the level of protection against the disease. Epidemiologists implore those who have yet to begin the vaccination series to get their first shot now in order to enjoy protection from infection during the upcoming holiday season.