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Gov. Ige set to announce new inter-island travel rules Tuesday

Gov. David Ige plans on Tuesday to make an unspecified “important announcement” about inter-island travel, Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program today.

Ige offered no specifics but said the announcement is intended to make it “easier for people to travel.”

Asked about the surge of tourists as COVID-19 vaccinations are now readily available — including to 16 year olds as of today — Ige said that discussions continue with the Hawaii Tourism Authority on how to better manage the number of tourists and lessen potential conflicts with residents.

One possibility, Ige said, would be to limit access to state parks to tourists only on weekdays and to residents only on the weekends.

He cited a new master plan and restrictions at Haena State Park on the North Shore of Kauai following devastating flooding in 2018.

“We’re limiting parking,” Ige said. “We’ve established a cap on the number of visitors who can attend the park.”

Non-profit groups and local residents are also teaching tourists about the history of taro in the area.

Ige called the experience at Haena State Park a “glimpse of balance.”

The overall goal for Hawaii tourism is “not having to just go for 10 million and 12 million and 15 million,” Ige said. “It’s really about getting the best 8 or so million visitors who are willing to listen to our mandates, to respect our culture and our environment in a way that allows to get a win-win situation.”

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