One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations has just made it a little easier to visit.
Hawai'i has had a fraught relationship with holidaymakers - exacerbated by the ebb and flow of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. But for vaccinated travellers ready to treat the US island state and its residents with respect, a beautiful holiday awaits.
Tourists no longer need to complete a health questionnaire on Hawaii’s Safe Travels programme, which has been fielding arrivals since 2020. In another sign of relaxation, the quarantine period for domestic US travellers has been cut from 10 to five days, the Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced last week.
Here’s what you need to know about travelling to the stunning tropical destination.
Hawai'i travel rules for international visitors
Rules for international arrivals to Hawai'i are the same as those for the rest of the United States.
Non-US citizens must be fully-vaccinated (with only a small number of exceptions), and show a negative COVID-19 test result taken within one day of departure.
Those arriving in the archipelago from another US state will be treated as domestic travellers, however. This means they’ll benefit from the easing of domestic rules - such as the Safe Travels health questionnaire, which tourists previously had to fill out within 24 hours of departure.
This stage has been eliminated as, according to an HTA statement, it was decided that the questionnaire “was not a priority at this point in the pandemic in detecting travellers who are COVID-positive.” Of all COVID travel admin, it had also been causing the most confusion.
The QR code that the questionnaire unlocked will now be sent straight to travellers via email once they submit their trip information on the Safe Travels platform.
And for those unlucky enough to catch the virus, Hawaii’s mandatory quarantine period has just been halved from 10 to five days. If you are still symptomatic on the fifth day and test positive, a further five day isolation follows.
Why travel to Hawai'i - and how to do it responsibly
From the grey depths of January, the appeal of Hawai'i to European tourists is obvious. Americans too have long flocked to the capital of Honolulu on Oahu and its surrounding isles in search of peace and adventure.
Hawaii’s magnificent coral reefs, volcanic landscapes and rich culture make it far more than the average beach holiday.
But the area’s popularity has come at a cost to locals, who last summer urged US tourists to stop visiting amid a post-pandemic boom.
“The culture of our Hawaiian Islands is steeped in the values of kuleana (responsibility) and malama (care),” a note from the tourism organisation says. “Now that travellers can once again enjoy our islands, we are asking you to join in our efforts to help keep Hawaii safe.”
With COVID on the rise, quarantine measures are being taken seriously to protect the population. The first cruise ship to arrive in two years has been docked at Honolulu since Sunday, with multiple positive cases remaining on board.
Taking all necessary precautions to avoid catching and spreading the virus is of course the bare minimum that responsible travellers can do. Booking stays and experiences with smaller, locally-owned businesses also helps ensure that Hawaiians benefit from your interest in their beautiful part of the world.
Tread lightly in the environment - avoid touching the reef if you go snorkelling, and dispose of your waste as you would at home.