Now, Ige has tentatively indicated tourism could resume in earnest in the coming weeks as long as COVID-19 cases remain consistently low.
"I’m cautiously optimistic the trend will continue and we’ll be able to relax restrictions and get back to normal. I am hopeful that our holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be significantly better than last year," he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a live stream on Monday.
Towards the end of the summer, Ige pleaded with tourists to avoid traveling to the island in the wake of increased COVID-19 hospitalizations. In the weeks since, there was a small reduction in visitors and the number of daily cases has gone down by about two-thirds, Ige said.
Ige has vowed to ensure that restaurants and those in the hospitality industry are adequately prepared for the return of more tourists.
"We want to make sure when we invite people back, we have space and restaurants and other activities for them to do. So we will work through this week to look at how and when to do that. As we see trends continue, and we see lower and lower cases counts, we will be inviting tourists back and it’s just a matter of how we would do that," he said to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.