A half-off airfare deal for Alaska residents arrives as Hawaii welcomes visitors once more


There’s good news from the Land of Aloha. Gov. David Ige has officially rolled out the red carpet, extending a warm welcome to tourists to once again visit Hawaii.

Back in August, Ige publicly asked tourists to stay away from the islands due to high COVID-19 infection counts and pressure on hospitals.

Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Anchorage to Honolulu, Maui and Kona. And those flights are on sale. This sale is a little different from the sale last week, or the week before.

Alaskans who want to visit Hawaii must either be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test result to avoid a 10-day quarantine on arrival.

[Hawaii governor invites vaccinated tourists to start coming back on Nov. 1]

Travel to Canada finally is a two-way street. While vaccinated travelers now are allowed to drive into Canada, Canadians were not allowed to enter the U.S. by road. That’s changing on Nov. 8, when the U.S. will allow road traffic from Canada (and Mexico).

In addition to international travel, the Canadian government is mandating that travelers be vaccinated on domestic flights and trains.

As travel slows down between Alaska and the Lower 49 (including Hawaii), airlines keep coming up with fare sales. It’s a little tough when some of the fares already are super-low. That includes routes like Anchorage to Fort Myers, Florida ($102 one-way on Delta), or New York ($116 one-way on Alaska Airlines).

Alaska Airlines has a sale right now that offers 49% off the total price of two tickets when you’re traveling together. The sale is to commemorate 10 years of their “Club 49″ program. It’s open only to Club 49 members.

It’s free to belong to Club 49, but you have to live in Alaska. The most popular feature is that members get two free checked bags when traveling to or from Alaska.

To take advantage of the 49% discount, sign in to your Alaska Airlines online account. On the left-hand side of your “account” page is a link to “discount and companion fare codes.” That’s where you’ll find the discount code. Click on the box that says “shop” and you can start shopping for tickets.

I’ve heard from several travelers who have been members of the Club 49 program since it started — and they didn’t receive a code. For a variety of reasons, some names were deleted from the Club 49 roster. All you have to do is call Alaska Airlines to be re-added to the list. Everyone I’ve spoken with either called or used the “chat” function on Alaska’s website to get re-enrolled and to receive the discount code promptly.

As is often the case, there are lots of rules and restrictions. You cannot get the discount over Thanksgiving, Christmas or spring break. Some destinations, like Hawaii and Belize, are only available on certain days.

The discount code that Alaska Air sends to you is good for two people traveling on the same itinerary, similar to the Visa card companion fares. Travel is valid between now and May 15, 2022.

Alaska’s hot new destination is Belize, so I plugged in my one-time-only code to see how much it costs. Traveling Dec. 2-9, my wife and I could fly in “Saver” seats for $740, or $370 per person.

If you’ve got Hawaii on the brain, take advantage of Gov. Ige’s offer of “aloha” as the days get shorter. Fly nonstop from Anchorage to Maui on Alaska’s nonstop. Fly Dec. 8-15 for $512 round trip, or $256 each. It’s even cheaper to fly from Anchorage to Honolulu: $430 round trip for two, or $215 each (in Saver seats).

Phoenix has the sun, but not the beach. Fly on Alaska’s nonstop from Anchorage Jan. 9-15 for a total of $350 round trip, or $175 per person.

If you want to go to Seattle, keep in mind that King County has a strict vaccination policy for many public venues. According to King County’s website, “King County will require verification of full vaccination status or a negative test to enter outdoor public events of 500 or more people and indoor entertainment and recreational establishments and events such as live music, performing arts, gyms, restaurants, and bars.”

The price for two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines between Anchorage and Seattle using the discount code is $228 round trip, or $114 each. Or, if you just want to travel one-way, it’s $57.

If you are counting your frequent flyer miles to get your elite MVP or MVP Gold status, Alaska Air is offering a 50% bonus through Dec. 31. If you’re traveling to Seattle (2,880 miles round trip), Alaska would award you a 1,440-mile bonus. The bonus miles can’t be redeemed for free tickets — but it does give you an extra boost to your next elite-level tier.





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Gov. David Ige invites visitors to resume non-essential travel to Hawaii on Nov. 1


Gov. David Ige announced this afternoon that Hawaii will be “open to vaccinated residents and visitors who are traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure, starting Nov. 1.”

Ige made the announcement at the opening of the permanent Federal Inspection Services facility at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.

On Aug. 23, in response to a summer surge in COVID-19 cases, Ige asked travelers to avoid non-essential travel to Hawaii through October.

Ige issued a statement today highlighting the state’s recent progress in the pandemic fight.

“I think we are all encouraged by what we’ve seen over the last several weeks with the continuing trend of lower case counts,” Ige said. “Our hospitals are doing better, and we have fewer COVID patients in them. Most importantly, our health care system has responded, and we have the ability to move forward with economic recovery. Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume non-essential travel to and within the State of Hawaii.”

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president and CEO Mufi Hannemann said he and a statewide coalition of representatives from tourism, restaurants, retail, ground and air transportation, labor unions, and chambers of commerce had pushed hard for the Nov. 1 timeline.

“While we recognize that there are still details that need to be sorted out—paying special mind to input from the county mayors and information provided by the healthcare community and the business sector—this announcement is an important first step toward getting our economy moving again safely and judiciously,” Hannemann said.

Hannemann also commended Hawaii island Mayor Mitch Roth for making it clear that Hawaii wants “healthy, vaccinated travelers to return to Hawaii as soon as possible.”

“We look forward to working with Gov. Ige and his administration to shape a clear message to prospective travelers that Hawaii is open for business and travel can once again be booked with confidence,” he said.

Ige and his team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his decision to invite visitors back to Hawaii.





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2 California visitors arrested on Maui for allegedly violating travel rules


Two California visitors were arrested Monday for allegedly violating the state’s travel rules, which require travelers to present a vaccination record, a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test or approved lodging for a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

California residents Steven Miller, 54, and Tina Wideman, 55, were arrested on suspicion of violating the travel rules upon arriving on Maui from Las Vegas, according to a news release. They were transported to the Wailuku police station for processing without incident, Maui police said.

Both volunteered to leave Maui and fly back to California.





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CDC Ups Travel Warning as Singapore Reopens to Vaccinated U.S. Visitors


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has upped its travel warning for Singapore to the highest tier, Level 4, urging travelers to avoid visiting the city-state.

Singapore last week announced it would open its Vaccinated Travel Lanes program to several new countries, including the United States, this week, enabling fully vaccinated travelers to visit without quarantine if they follow testing protocols. While Singapore reports a vaccination rate about 82 percent, it has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, leading the CDC to warn of a “very high” level of Covid-19 in Singapore and a risk for even fully vaccinated travelers to catch and spread Covid-19 variants.

Singapore was the only new country added to the CDC’s Level 4 warning in its most recent update. Three countries were moved down to Level 3 from Level 4—Cyprus, Eswatini and Tunisia—and three were moved up to Level 3 from Level 2: Angola, Djibouti and Hungary.

Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Poland and the Republic of the Congo all moved to Level 2 in the update, and Bhutan, Paraguay, Senegal and Zambia all moved to Level 1.



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Hawaii’s tourism industry prepares for loosened national travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather


Friday’s announcement was welcomed news for many people in the tourism industry including here in Hawaii. Bruce Fisher, owner of Hawaii Aloha Travel, says international visitors are better for the local economy because they tend to stay longer and spend more. The industry is hopeful for a more vibrant 2022 but right now Hawaii still has travel restrictions in place for visitors from many foreign countries. 





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Hawaii’s tourism industry prepares for loosened national travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather


Friday’s announcement was welcomed news for many people in the tourism industry including here in Hawaii. Bruce Fisher, owner of Hawaii Aloha Travel, says international visitors are better for the local economy because they tend to stay longer and spend more. The industry is hopeful for a more vibrant 2022 but right now Hawaii still has travel restrictions in place for visitors from many foreign countries. 





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US to Allow Visa-Free Travel for Visitors From Croatia | Political News


WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government said Tuesday that Croatia would soon join the countries whose people can visit without a visa in a sign of closer economic and security ties.

The State Department and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement that the European nation of about 4 million would join the program no later than Dec. 1.

It is the 40th country to be added to the visa waiver program.

People will be able to come to the U.S. for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. The countries in the program must meet requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management.

Croatia’s entry into the program amounts to “recognition of our countries’ shared economic and security interests,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in announcing the designation.

Political Cartoons

“I congratulate Croatia for becoming the 40th member of the VWP after having met strict requirements, and I look forward to our continued close cooperation on key priorities,” he added.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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Visitors looking at ‘healthy’ options in tourism destinations


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic shift in the way travellers are thinking and the Caribbean is well-positioned to take advantage of the new trends.

That is according to Canadian entrepreneur and founder of well-known travel company G Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip, who believes islands in the region provide many of the necessities that travellers want.

Delivering the keynote address at a webinar hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) in commemoration of World Tourism Day, Poon Tip pointed out that travellers now preferred remote locations as opposed to big, busy cities.

Additionally, he explained that because of the challenges posed by the pandemic, travellers also wanted destinations where they could be more active.

Poon Tip said data and research conducted in Canada showed a dynamic shift over the past 18 months, with travellers now having a strong focus on mental health and their wellbeing.

“So this conversation about mental health and wellbeing has suddenly become so important because one thing people haven’t looked at closely are the mental health impacts of these lockdowns we have gone through over the last 18 months and how it has changed people’s thoughts about, not only coming out within their own communities but what they want to motivate them to travel again,” Poon Tip said.

“People want to be more disconnected, more remote and this is a very different change that we have found because before the pandemic travellers were motivated to travel to busy places and places with dense populations, but suddenly we are seeing that people want to be more disconnected, more remote and that is reflected in how we are in a more remote and wired world.”

He anticipated that the Caribbean was poised to take advantage of the emerging trend as a rural destination.

He said the region also had to push the concept of community tourism.

“The Caribbean has mastered rest and relaxation for sure, but the idea that people want to be active as well and be more active because they have been forced into this pause and these lockdowns, it is no wonder people want to be away from social media and they want to be more active on their next holiday and that is going to be more meaningful,” he said.

Vice-chancellor at the University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles also pointed to the fact that travellers were more concerned than ever with their health and this was an area the Caribbean could use to its advantage.

“Since our product was built originally, ancestrally, historically, around the health product I believe we are beckoning there once again to go back into our treasure trove of history and extract ideas for the future,” Sir Hilary said.

“I will say to you that the biggest product in the world today will be built around health and not only physical health but mental health. Mental health has become the fastest growing concern in the world. People are speaking about the need for mental health and COVID-19 has brought this to the fore in a very aggressive way. Getting away from anxiety, getting away from stress, relaxing the body and public knowledge around health have soared.” (RB)

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‘A game-changer’: Travel marketers cheer U.S. plan to reopen to visitors: Travel Weekly


The day the White House announced a plan for reopening the U.S. to vaccinated international travelers, more than 2,000 members of the travel industry were gathered in Las Vegas for IPW, the conference devoted to, in its words, “bringing the world to America.”

The news sent a buzz through the show, said Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta, and destination marketing organizations mobilized, flipping the switch to launch international campaigns that have been languishing in a holding pattern. 

“There was a noticeable difference in energy level and enthusiasm,” Beteta said. “It’s a game-changer … we’re not dealing in some hypothetical environment anymore. Now it’s reality.”

Brand USA chief Chris Thompson was preparing to head to the conference Monday when his phone started “blowing up.” 

“I think the overall feeling was just a tremendous amount of optimism and enthusiasm,” he said.

For California, international travelers make up roughly 7% of total visitors, but they represent nearly 20% of visitor spending. 

Visit California had been using what it called the “candle in the window” strategy — reducing, but not eliminating, relationships in international markets — as it waited for the green light for inbound travel.

“The reality is all of us have been in a position of suspense,” she said. “We didn’t want to cut the cord completely.

here’s a lot of helpful intelligence that comes out from our international offices and maintaining those relationships. So, when we were in the position to continue marketing, we were already at the starting line, so to speak.”

IPW is produced by the U.S. Travel Association, and in a statement CEO Roger Dow declared the reopening to international travel a “major turning point” that will “accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions.”

Dow added that the announcement, which came during the opening day of the show, “couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.”

The policy is expected to take effect in November and will allow foreign nationals to fly into the U.S. with proof of vaccination and proof of a negative Covid test taken within three days of their flight.

Even with questions on land borders and exactly how the procedure will function still unanswered, the travel industry widely celebrated the move.

CLIA said that 2.5 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. to embark on a cruise in 2019, representing nearly 18% of all U.S. cruise embarkations that year, and that international cruisers spent $4.5 billion a year in the U.S. on hotel stays, transportation, retail and other purchases.

“Our members look forward to welcoming international travelers, including from the United Kingdom and the European Union, back to the United States while continuing to prioritize public health,” it said.

Kimberly Wilson Wetty, the co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, pointed out that U.S. travelers have been able to travel to other countries and said it was “past time we did the same in return.” 



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‘A game-changer’: Travel marketers cheer U.S. plan to reopen to visitors: Travel Weekly


The day the White House announced a plan for reopening the U.S. to vaccinated international travelers, more than 2,000 members of the travel industry were gathered in Las Vegas for IPW, the conference devoted to, in its words, “bringing the world to America.”

The news sent a buzz through the show, said Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta, and destination marketing organizations mobilized, flipping the switch to launch international campaigns that have been languishing in a holding pattern. 

“There was a noticeable difference in energy level and enthusiasm,” Beteta said. “It’s a game-changer … we’re not dealing in some hypothetical environment anymore. Now it’s reality.”

Brand USA chief Chris Thompson was preparing to head to the conference Monday when his phone started “blowing up.” 

“I think the overall feeling was just a tremendous amount of optimism and enthusiasm,” he said.

For California, international travelers make up roughly 7% of total visitors, but they represent nearly 20% of visitor spending. 

Visit California had been using what it called the “candle in the window” strategy — reducing, but not eliminating, relationships in international markets — as it waited for the green light for inbound travel.

“The reality is all of us have been in a position of suspense,” she said. “We didn’t want to cut the cord completely.

here’s a lot of helpful intelligence that comes out from our international offices and maintaining those relationships. So, when we were in the position to continue marketing, we were already at the starting line, so to speak.”

IPW is produced by the U.S. Travel Association, and in a statement CEO Roger Dow declared the reopening to international travel a “major turning point” that will “accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions.”

Dow added that the announcement, which came during the opening day of the show, “couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.”

The policy is expected to take effect in November and will allow foreign nationals to fly into the U.S. with proof of vaccination and proof of a negative Covid test taken within three days of their flight.

Even with questions on land borders and exactly how the procedure will function still unanswered, the travel industry widely celebrated the move.

CLIA said that 2.5 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. to embark on a cruise in 2019, representing nearly 18% of all U.S. cruise embarkations that year, and that international cruisers spent $4.5 billion a year in the U.S. on hotel stays, transportation, retail and other purchases.

“Our members look forward to welcoming international travelers, including from the United Kingdom and the European Union, back to the United States while continuing to prioritize public health,” it said.

Kimberly Wilson Wetty, the co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, pointed out that U.S. travelers have been able to travel to other countries and said it was “past time we did the same in return.” 



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