Doug Chin Travel Ban

Overview of the Travel Ban

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin imposed a travel ban targeted mostly at leisure travelers from mainland United States to Hawaii. The Executive Order, Executive Order 2017-008, was enacted in May of 2017 and restricts travel for visitors who had travelled to any of the seven designated “high-risk” states (Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas) within 14 days of entering Hawaii. Chin’s ban was enacted in the interest of protecting the safety and welfare of Hawaii’s citizens from the increasing spread of the contagions associated with mosquitoes, such as Zika virus and West Nile virus in the other states.

The ban stipulates that all travelers from the mainland United States who stay for more than 90 days must receive a Certificate of Immunity, which they can receive only after successfully submitting evidence that they have not visited any of the seven states identified by the Executive Order in the 14 days prior to arrival in Hawaii.

Background of Doug Chin

Doug Chin is a former prosecuting attorney and was elected the 39th Attorney General of Hawaii in November of 2014. Chin’s career as a public servant and champion of the people of Hawaii began when he joined the Office of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney in 1992, where he served with distinction for 13 years. After leaving the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Doug ran for Hawaii State Senate in 2002, a race he won.

Doug is the first Chinese-American attorney in Hawai’i to hold elected office. He has earned the respect of his constituents and of the legal community. Doug is a member of the Hawai’i Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Chin has also served on several boards, such as the Hawai’i State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i, the Hawai’i Judicial Conference, the Hawai’i State Clemency Board, and the International Association of Prosecutors.

Purpose of The Travel Ban

The Executive Order issued by Doug Chin was intended to protect Hawaii residents from the threat of infection from the seven identified contagions that are associated with mosquito borne illnesses. Chin believes that the policy of banning travelers from the mainland United States who have traveled to any of the seven identified states within 14 days of arriving in Hawaii is a preventative measure that should be taken to protect the health and safety of Hawaii citizens.

The ban is aimed at discretionary visitors who make up a large percentage of tourism from mainland United States to Hawaii. Other travelers, including those applying for a Certificate of Immunity, are exempt from the travel ban. Doug Chin stated in a public address after imposing the travel ban that the state had no choice but to take preventive action to protect public health and safety.

Perspectives from Experts

Many medical experts welcome the travel ban as an appropriate and much needed preventative measure. Several medical professionals state that the spread of mosquito-borne disease is a risk not to be taken lightly and that the ban provides a necessary buffer against the spread of contagion. Dr. Cedric Shamburger, a medical doctor and Director of Vector-Borne Diseases at the Pacific APEC Region, says the policy is a prudent measure in the interest of public health and should serve as a “stern warning” to Americans that the current situation is serious and needs attention.

Some businesses, however, have expressed concern about the executive order. Some tour companies in Hawaii have seen a decrease in their customer base and worry that the ban could adversely affect the tourism industry in Hawaii. This is especially concerning as the industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy.

Analysis and Insights

Attorney General Doug Chin’s executive order to ban travelers from the mainland United States who have visited seven designated “high-risk” states from entering Hawaii is certainly an aggressive policy. The policy, however, is imposed for an important and valid reason: to protect the safety and welfare of the citizens of Hawaii.

The travel ban will undoubtedly impact the tourism industry in Hawaii. This could be detrimental to the economy as the industry is a major contributor to the state’s GDP. It is encouraging, though, to see a state taking the initiative to address the burgeoning spread of mosquito borne illness before it becomes a more serious threat.

Human Impact of the Travel Ban

The human cost of the travel ban is significant. Many businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry, will suffer financial losses. Employees of these businesses will also face the possibility of layoffs. The emotional toll of the ban is also high, with those affected feeling a sense of powerlessness, helplessness, fear, and uncertainty.

The potential impacts of the Executive Order may be long-term. If not lifted or amended, the ban will continue to place economic and emotional burdens on those affected. Also, the ban may perpetuate a perception of Hawaii as an “unfriendly” place to visit, which could result in a long-term downturn in the state’s tourism industry.

Effects of the Travel Ban on Tourism

Hawaii is known for its tourism industry, which accounts for one-third of its GDP. The travel ban will inevitably have a significant impact on the industry. Some tour operators have already experienced a 20% decline in business since the inception of the ban. The loss of revenue for the industry can be especially damaging for small businesses, such as those engaged in small-scale hospitality services or in providing niche tours.

In addition, the travel ban could dissuade potential visitors from mainland United States who have visited the seven designated “high-risk” states from visiting for leisure and potentially leave a negative impression of the state. This could result in fewer returning visitors and fewer people recommending Hawaii as a travel destination.

Reaction of Hawaii Residents

Reactions to the travel ban among Hawaii residents are varied. Many are supportive of the ban, citing health and safety concerns as a primary concern that should be addressed. Others are critical of the policy’s punitive nature, believing that it is unnecessary and cruel. Some fear that the ban could create a perception of “Fortress Hawaii” which could be damaging to the state’s friendly and welcoming reputation.

On the other hand, some see the ban as an appropriate and necessary step to ensure the protection of Hawaii’s citizens from the spread of contagion. Ultimately, it is up to the residents of Hawaii to decide if the ban is an appropriate measure.

Bernice Sorrells

Bernice A. Sorrells is a freelance journalist and travel writer from the United States. She has written extensively about China, covering topics such as culture, history, politics, and economics. Bernice has traveled extensively throughout China, visiting many of its provinces and cities.

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