As part of efforts to boost its tourism industry, the US state of Hawaii is gearing up to welcome back visitors from Japan.
The State of Hawaii through the Governor's office announced a new program that would allow travelers to bypass the current 14-day quarantine required with a negative COVID-19 test result. Travelers from Japan will soon be able to come to the state starting November 6, with a COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before departure.
Hawaii's pre-testing program called Safe Travels Hawaii is currently available for travelers coming from the US mainland. Japan will be the first foreign country the state will include in the program.
In a release from Hawaii Governor David Ige's office, the state included a list of 21 trusted testing partners authorized by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare for the pre-travel test. Travelers could take their test at facilities in locations including Tokyo, Sapporo, Osaka, Aichi Prefecture (Nagoya), and Chiba (location of Tokyo-Narita Airport).
Travelers returning to Japan from Hawaii will be required to undergo the country's 14-day quarantine - including those traveling from Hawaii. Travel restrictions from the US and Japan remain in place.
“Many of Hawaiʻi’s residents trace their ancestry back to Japan, and welcoming our Japanese guests back to Hawaiʻi is an important step in maintaining the close relationship between our two regions,” said Governoer Ige, “We believe we have created the safest travel testing program in the country, and we are grateful to the Japanese government for assisting us in making our pre-travel testing program available to its residents.”
With an importance of Japanese visitors to Hawaii's economy, the pre-testing program being made available for travelers from Japan was welcomed by airline representatives from Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL), and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
“On behalf of the travelling public, ANA would like to thank Governor Ige, Speaker Saiki, and those involved with developing and implementing the Pre-Travel Testing Program. We hope that with appropriate health and safety measures with additional layers of testing like the PTTP, we can resume air travel between Japan and Hawaiʻi.” said All Nippon Airways' Honolulu Station Manager Hiro Noguchi.
“We look forward to supporting the phased reopening of travel between Japan and Hawai‘i by welcoming onboard more of our Japanese guests with enhanced health protocols to keep travelers and our islands safe,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram.
“It is a welcome news for those ready to travel between Hawai‘i and Japan with today’s announcement of the State of Hawai‘i pre-travel testing program. These measures can provide a safe and secure travel experience for our customers, and serve as an opportunity for more travel between Hawai‘i and Japan one step at a time. Japan Airlines will continue to undertake measures to ensure safety and health of local communities and visitors as a priority,” said Hiroshi Kuroda, Vice President and Regional Manager Hawaiʻi, Region for Japan Airlines.