In the wake of Saturday’s inbound missile false alarm, the head of the Hawaiian Tourism Authority is reassuring planned and potential visitors that there is no reason to be concerned about travelling to Hawaii.
“We have been in contact with our tourism stakeholders to… reassure them that Hawaii’s safety and security is unaffected by [the] unfortunate incident,” said HTA president and CEO George D. Szigeti, in a statement.
He added, “There is no cause for travellers with trips already booked to Hawaii or considering a vacation in the islands to change their plans. Hawaii continues to be the safest, cleanest and most welcoming travel destination in the world and the alarm created… by the false alert does not change that at all.”
The incident, in which an emergency alert was issued stating that a ballistic (nuclear) missile was headed towards Hawaii – with the added emphasis that “this is not a drill” – caused a wave of panic in the South Pacific islands before the message was quickly rescinded. The false alert was blamed on human error – a mistake Szigeti admitted was “regrettable and completely avoidable.”
Szigeti added, “Our governor and the director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency have made strong public assurances that this type of mistake will never happen again… Already, procedures have been improved to ensure that an error of this magnitude is not repeated. The health and welfare of our residents and visitors is always the State of Hawaii’s top priority and no agency takes that responsibility more seriously than the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.”