Hawaii Thanksgiving Travel Numbers Are Reaching Pre-Pandemic Levels
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  • Post published:26/11/2021
  • Post last modified:26/11/2021

Hawaii Airports are reporting some of their busiest days since the pandemic began as thousands try to make it on time for Thanksgiving.

Two weeks ago, Hawaii was reporting some 24,000 passengers per day. Last week, the number increased to 34,000 trans-Pacific daily arrivals.

Thanksgiving-eve is famous for being the busiest day for travel. This year, however, remote work has allowed millions of people to travel early and avoid the last-minute rush.

A travel expert from the University of Hawaii said the state is reporting similar arrivals to pre-pandemic holidays, even limited overseas passengers coming in.

“When you compare to other sea sand and sun destinations, like Mexico or the Caribbean, which are our direct competition, we are way, way, way safer.”

“We have one of the lowest cases of COVID out there,” said Jerry Agrusa, a UH Travel Industry Management Professor. 

But low levels of infection and high vaccination rates may not be the only factors driving the travel surge.

couple walking on the beach in hawaii

The rise in travelers can also be attributed to the eased restrictions, recently announced by the Hawaiian governor.

Mayors of Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai declared on Tuesday that restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate at full capacity and social distancing will no longer be needed. Proof of vaccination or recovery is still required.

“We’re here now at a place and time where everything about this disease, now we’re on top of, from vaccinations to the hospitalizations, even our case counts are down… it’s a time to celebrate and be careful,” said Honolulu at a press conference Tuesday. 

The Safe Travels program will continue in place for travelers arriving in the state from abroad and it may be repurposed in the future when the pandemic is over. 

For the time being, those flying back to Hawaii after Thanksgiving can upload their documents to Safe Travels to obtain a wristband for their flight and skip the screening process upon arrival. 

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