Per survey, most Hawaii travelers have “excellent” experience in current circumstances

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) coordinated a special survey in December 2020 to determine travelers’ experience with the Safe Travels program and their overall trip satisfaction. You can review the findings via these well-organized slides.

As a reminder, Hawaii’s Safe Travels program allows most passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county 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.

Okay, let’s get back to the survey. We’ll organize some of the more interesting findings into two main categories — Safe Travels program and Trip satisfaction.

Hawaii Safe Travels program survey results

The survey indicated that 79% of travelers said their pre-travel testing went smoothly. Travelers from the US East reported more difficulty, particularly with finding a trusted testing partner, than travelers from the US West. The following slide shows the breakdown of difficulties travelers encountered.

Hawaii trip satisfaction

Overall, 85% of travelers reported having an “excellent” trip to Hawaii even under current restrictions. The following slide shows the current satisfaction levels compared to a pre-pandemic survey from 2019.


As you can see and might expect, the current restrictions resulted in a drop in satisfaction, but not dramatically. That being said, travelers from US East reported noticeably more “poor” and “below average” experiences compared to 2019.

When asked how trip satisfaction could be improved, travelers responded as follows:

Digging deeper into trip satisfaction, most travelers reported that their trip either met or exceeded their expectations. First-time visitors were particularly pleased as 61% of them reported their trip “exceeded expectations.” Only 6% of travelers said they “left disappointed.”

For more survey results, check out the full slide deck.

What do you think of these results? Did the results surprise you?

  1. We rescheduled our vacation for October. Hoping that things would be calmer and then our work also. But I’ve been researching, yes, way too early but right now, still not a lot of places around here, in Northeast Texas, that you can do the test. I mean, you can do it but not Hawaii approved Labs. I work in a Hospital, we send ours out to a CLIA approved lab and it’s NAAT. But not Hawaii approved. So in that sense it is hard. Hopefully time we go, it’ll be better.

    Having said all that, ,smile, I have been looking at Youtube video’s from people who’ve traveled during all this and they all are wearing their mask, having fun and seem to be really enjoying themselves. I mean having an extra large time. Some that have been there before, are having more fun with not as much folks there.

    So I do think for the most part, it’s been good. If you are one of the lucky ones to be able to get tested and go. Oh and they also were saying, make sure you check the time zone for the 72 hours. One couple said they had the test in their time zone but the lab was in another time zone and it put them at 74 hours. So they had to rush and get another one elsewhere cause the lab wouldn’t help.

    I’m also waiting to see what they decide if anything on people who’ve been vaccinated. Because we both have been.

    Anyway, I’m happy to know that things are going well. I’m ready, as is everyone, for this mess to go away!

    1. Is it ever too early to research, plan, dream of a Hawaii vacation? We don’t think so. 🙂

      In the last week, the Lt. Gov. Green has said he’s hoping that there will be a way that allows folks to visit without quarantine who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks. That’s possibly something that could happen as the year progresses.

  2. But when do you think they will also open to European countries? We should come in August.

    1. Unfortunately, no timelines have been given for that. Hopefully by August, there will be a way for Europeans to visit safely.

  3. I looked at recent stats on hotel occupancy, and they are way down. So it must really be great to have beaches, etc. pretty much to yourself. So being there must be excellent. It’s traveling and getting there that’s my problem.
    I agree with the “East Coasters”. I’m from NY and there is no guarantee of on time results even if you can find a trusted partner. In addition, I don’t want to chance a false positive after being tested upon arrival at the Big Island and be quarantined.
    I am in favor of testing and other health precautions, but I’ll wait to return. I’m hoping that a vaccination passport will be approved and eliminate testing. I recently cancelled my last planned trip.
    (CDC does not recommend unnecessary travel so I wouldn’t chance getting the virus by traveling now, especially because I’m over 70)
    Thanks for the report.

    1. Recently Lt. Gov. Green said he’s hoping that vaccinated visitors will be able to visit sometime later this year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you’ll be able to travel to your beloved Big Island soon!

  4. My wife and I (both fully vaccinated) will arrive in Maui on May 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm. We have rescheduled this trip twice due to the pandemic and want to make sure nothing prohibits our travel. I’m concerned by hearing of travelers having issues due to time zone issues.

    What date and time do we need to get tested? (In CST)

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