HONOLULU — Both the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii’s Governor have issued statements in the wake of Saturday’s alerts about an inbound ballistic missile coming to Hawaii, mistakenly activated by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
HTA President and CEO George D. Szigeti sent out this statement on Jan. 13:
“This morning’s false alert was regrettable and completely avoidable. There was no reason for the alert to be issued and the public needs to know that it was simply a mistake caused by human error. Our governor and the director of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency have made strong public assurances that this type of mistake will never happen again, and we should all take that to heart.
“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 Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
Szigeti adds: “We have been in contact with our tourism stakeholders to inform them of today’s false alert and reassure them that Hawaii’s safety and security is unaffected by today’s unfortunate incident.
“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 today by the false alert does not change that at all.”
Hawaii Governor David Ige also issued a statement:
“On Saturday, Hawaii’s residents and visitors experienced an unfortunate situation that has never happened before and will never happen again – a false alert issued by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency that a ballistic missile was on its way to the Hawaiian Islands.
“On behalf of the State of Hawaii, I deeply apologize for this false alert that created stress, anxiety and fear of a crisis in our residents and guests.
“I can personally assure each and every resident and visitor that steps have already been taken by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to ensure that a situation of this type never happens again.
“The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is committed to protecting the people of Hawaii, and over the past year it has been taking responsible measures to prepare for the highly unlikely event of a missile attack. As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors – whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami.
“In the next few days, I will continue meeting with our emergency preparedness team and personally talking with families, individuals and leaders from around our state to ensure we reach every household. We must also do what we can to demand peace and a de-escalation of tensions with North Korea.
“Again, on behalf of the State of Hawaii, I apologize for yesterday’s events and any hardship and inconvenience this created for you, your family and loved ones.”