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Visitors surveyed about ‘Safe Travels’ program experience

Pre-travel testing a challenge but 85% consider their trip to Hawaii ‘excellent’

The Maui News

A majority of U.S. Mainland visitors who traveled to Hawaii in December said their pre-travel testing went smoothly, according to a special study whose results were released by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority on Monday.

But 21 percent said they had issues during pre-travel testing. In this group, 46 percent said the 72-hour window for testing was “unreasonable.”

The other top difficulties include 37 percent reporting having trouble in finding “trusted partners” to perform the tests and 15 percent said test results did not arrive on time.

The study surveyed visitors who came to Hawaii in the first two weeks of December to gauge their experience with the Hawaii Safe Travels program and overall trip satisfaction.

The Safe Travels program allows most passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling intercounty to bypass the mandatory 10-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a trusted testing partner. The test has to be taken no earlier than 72 hours from the final leg of departure and the negative result must be received before departure to Hawaii.

“Despite challenges for some in the pre-testing process,” the HTA news release said the “vast majority of visitors” or 85 percent rated their trip “excellent.”

Nearly every visitor who took part in the survey was aware of the state’s pre-testing protocols.

HTA’s Tourism Research Division partnered with Anthology Research to conduct the survey, as part of the contract for the Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Study. The online survey was conducted between December 21 and January 4.

The complete Visitor COVID-19 Study is available on HTA’s website at hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/6415/hta-visitor-covid-19-study.pdf

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