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I wrote a post last week asking if it’s ethical to travel for the holidays. It’s really something to contemplate because COVID-19 is so out of control and it only seems to be getting worse. But you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the TSA security checkpoint numbers. The numbers went up again on Sunday (Nov 15) and they’re huge, considering that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Obviously it’s in my best interest if people travel because that’s how I make money (from sponsors, affiliates, speaking gigs, etc.) but I’m not going to recommend something that’s doesn’t feel right to me.

After listening to the experts (and not the politicians), I don’t think it’s the right time to travel out of state unless it’s essential. Doctors say that December and January are going to be the United States’ darkest days since this pandemic began, which makes me scared as hell. Hospitals are filling to capacity and the weather is getting cold in most parts of the country so people will be indoors a lot more.

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I know most people (including myself) want to go to tropical destinations like Hawaii but after having a conversation with some travel experts and locals I’m not so sure they even want us.

Here’s part of my conversation:

@regolithophile: I say this as a Canadian in Hawaii: how short-sighted do you have to be to think a vacation out here is a good idea right now?

@JohnnyJet: Agreed. It’s not the time to go anywhere unless it’s essential.

@regolithophile: I’m holding back a lot. The state may be welcoming tourists back, but local and national news are quoting residents saying things like “tourism is terrorism” and widespread doubts the relationship between locals & tourists will ever recover. Our tourists are terrible people.

@regolithophile went on to say, “We’ve had a couple of high profile assaults on tourists. Tourists are getting yelled at/harassed regularly. Nobody should be coming here right now.” Then in another tweet he wrote, “Verbal harassment is much more common.”

That’s disturbing stuff and a quick Google search confirmed what he said. There’s this piece in Hawaii News Now: Visitors who took advantage of cheap airfare attacked in Waikiki amid growing virus fears

There’s also this recent article from the NY Times: Hawaii’s Reopening May Be Good for Tourism. Is it Good for Locals?

There are a few different threads and conversations going on but what struck me the most was when @regolithophile wrote: “Yeah, funny the number of people who say this while not mentioning that they never actually looked up how people in their vacation destination may feel about a bunch of entitled tourists plague-shipping themselves to the second most remote place on earth…”

Then an Alaskan friend of mine, who is also the author of a popular Alaska travel book, Alaska On the Go and an Alaska kid adventure expert tweeted me saying, “I have officially left the industry b/c I cannot even begin to tell you how many people were still writing me asking for tips about visiting Alaska. Families. W/ kids! Couldn’t square that w/myself.”

Hawaii and Alaska don’t have the same carefree attitude or laws (or lack thereof) as Florida where practically everything is open, most restrictions have been lifted and they just want tourism dollars. But I sense Hawaii and Alaska are a bit different …

A) Because they’re so remote and;
B) The majority of residents care more about health than dollars

So my tip is that you might want to do some research before going to a destination because there seems to be growing animosity between locals and tourists (especially those who don’t comply with local laws like wearing face masks and social distancing.) You just might not feel welcome.

4 Comments On "Do Hawaii and Alaska Even Want Tourists During COVID-19?"
  1. Gregory Lin Lipford|

    Contemptible article, capped with a ignorant libel against those, like Florida officials, who understand the science and psychology of living with a new virus. The scientific fact is that the issues of health and dollars are not separable; health and wealth are strongly correlated, and public-health programs cannot be adequately supported during a depression. But perhaps most important, there remains strong scientific evidence against lockdowns, which are not correlated with positive health outcomes. Surely it is easy to demonstrate at this point that areas with the tightest lockdowns are no better off than other areas (Florida vs California is the perfect case study). So to criticize those who are trying to find a way to maintain the economic health of society while also helping people protect themselves seems demagogic. I know better, but I would think you were ignorant to ignore that planes and many resorts being among the cleanest, safest places on the planet. I prefer to honor entrepreneurs who are innovating their way to survival during a pandemic; they are the ones helping the world become a better place long time. You do not defeat a virus by hiding, but I join you in chastising the minority who operate recklessly. I thank you for clarifying destinations that do not want visitors. May they find good economic fortune elsewhere.

  2. Ellen Lawrence|

    For now and hopefully the short term, destinations/resorts that are able to open may want to market to locals for escaping with a “stay vacation”. Many cannot afford a vacation or work requirements are such that they cannot take time off. For other’s staying healthy is critical to keeping their jobs. For those that can, support your local economy and wear a mask/stay distant so that those employees may also stay healthy and continue to keep the economy squeaking by. We are all playing one huge domino chain that requires each of us to help each other to keep the bones standing. I do find myself thinking of where we might want to travel to though… one has to dream!

  3. Kelly Stevens|

    My mom’s 92nd birthday was Nov. 17 – maybe we could hook them up? :o Your dad in Florida and my mom in Alaska – talk about long distance! I live in Seattle and work in healthcare. I have not done any travelling since the pandemic began. However my mom recently had two major surgeries and spent 45 days in the hospital, alone with no visitors. I would never forgive myself (if she passed) and I had not come visit her and celebrate her birthday. I was surprised to get off the plane in Anchorage to see no one wearing masks or social distancing. Why did I have to prove a negative COVID-19 test result to them upon entry, but yet residents there aren’t masking up?! Crazy. I’m not sure if they want visitors or not but I can’t wait to get back to WA where masking/distancing is mandated.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Wow! Happy birthday to your mom! They’re a day apart. Thanks for sharing

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