Rebuilding Travel: Hawaii holds global virtual session

 Friday, July 31, 2020 


Rebuilding Travel, the pro-tourism industry group consisting of tourism authorities from around 113 nations recently organised a global virtual session about the future of Hawaii tourism industry and its plans to gradually reopen the Aloha State for tourism. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak various countries across the world have started reopening for tourism. Meanwhile, Hawaii continues to maintain its security by keeping motels, shops and restaurants closed. With only a little above 1800 reported cases so far, Hawaii has recorded one of the lowest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Therefore, authorities have maintained that immediately opening up the state to welcome tourists from abroad or the U.S. mainland would be highly risky for the destination that has been a pioneer in the U.S. for maintaining the lowest number of COVID-19 related infections as well as the lowest death rate. Honolulu Mayor Candidate and Chair of the Council Committee on Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Kym Pine alongside Mor Elkeslassy, CEO of Skreen graced the session with their presence. The webinar was moderated by Juergen Steinmetz and Dr. Peter Tarlow. Travel and Tour World alongside other media representatives from across the globe participated in the session.

In the opening statement Dr. Tarlow shared that Hawaii’s tourism industry is almost like a star in the U.S. as well as the world and mentioned how remarkably the state started from the backwaters and transformed itself into a major tourism center. He opened the session to discussions about the future of tourism in Hawaii in the post-pandemic world. Kym Pine presided over the session to share how tourism is the most important economy for the state and how it has been harshly affected by the coronavirus outbreak rendering numerous people jobless. She also mentioned that it was the first time people witnessed how the land would appear without tourists.

She discussed about the aquatic wildlife and shared that for the first time in years turtles laid eggs in populated areas and were found to be resting, corals came back and reef fishes began repopulating in a never-seen-before way. She mentioned that right before the pandemic, there were several tourists who were abusing the wildlife and failed to maintain the standards for tourism. Therefore, she stated that how Hawaii deals with tourism once it reopens has become a key part of the rebuilding campaign.

She shared that amid various risks and complexities, the biggest debate is how tourism should reopen and mentioned the importance of high value tourism that does not take away from the local population’s quality of life but also makes sure that the government is careful about the environment so that the region can continue to have a strong tourism industry. She further shared that the first goal of the tourism industry should be to take things back to the 80s where authorities were constantly monitoring tourism and the effects on the environment.

She mentioned that it is essential to market tourism to the high-end tourists like the Hawaii Tourism Authority did back in the day before making it free-for-all and curb actions like illegal vacation rentals. However, it was also informed that the city council has passed laws to condemn such rentals and hence a better monitoring would be possible once the state open up for tourism. She also shared that government assistance is essential for companies and hotels that will be undergoing a change to introduce all-inclusive properties after reopening. She informed that authorities will be talking about reshifting the financial resources to benefit high-end tourism in the future.

The session was then handed over to Mor Elkeslassy who introduced Skreen Vision, a high-end thermal camera paired with a unique software that can be used for contact tracing and temperature taking, which is considered to be highly beneficial for maintaining COVID-19 safety standards as the state opens up for tourism once again. Mr. Elkeslassy shared that the contactless tool can help tourism industries in Hawaii as well as around the globe to reopen with much ease and enhanced safety. He also mentioned that he aims to support and help the world of tourism to recover and re-establish after the pandemic with his latest invention.

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