Thursday, April 18, 2024
Avoid travel to West Maui, Hawaii officials caution.

Avoid travel to West Maui, Hawaii officials caution.

Hawaii Tourism Officials Discourage Travel to Western Side of Maui

Hawaii tourism officials have strongly advised against visiting the western side of Maui as the island grapples with the aftermath of the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history. The recovery efforts are currently focused on helping residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.

The Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau made the announcement on social media, urging visitors with upcoming plans to stay in West Maui to consider rescheduling their travel until the situation improves for residents.

Recovery Efforts and Impact on Tourism

As rescue crews continue to search for missing individuals, the death toll from the Maui fire has risen to at least 93 people. The Kula and Lahaina areas, home to Maui’s most developed towns and resorts, were severely impacted by the flames. However, the less developed eastern portions of the island, such as Hawaii’s Highway 360 and the remote mountain town of Hana, remain unaffected.

In response to the wildfires, Marriott International temporarily closed three of its West Maui hotels until the end of August due to power outages. Meanwhile, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, and The Ritz-Carlton Maui in Kapalua were evacuated at the request of Maui County officials. Cancellation fees at the three Marriott hotels have been waived through August 31, following the recommendations of the tourism bureau.

Towns catering to travelers, including Lāhainā, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua, are still without power and have limited telephone and cell service. Consequently, surviving hotels in these areas are not currently accepting future reservations.

It remains uncertain how long the devastated city of Lahaina will remain closed to outside visitors as rescue crews continue their recovery efforts.

Impact on Housing and Tourism Industry

The housing situation on Maui remains dire, with thousands of families displaced. Officials have secured over 1,000 temporary rooms to accommodate evacuees.

Prior to the wildfire, Maui typically hosted around 70,000 visitors per day, with a population of approximately 160,000. However, the tourism industry has been significantly affected by the ongoing recovery efforts.

Hawaiian Airlines has announced travel waivers through the end of August, allowing travelers to change their plans without penalties or obtain refunds. The airline will continue to evaluate the waiver program based on the progress of the cleanup efforts.

Contact Information

For further information, reach out to Nora Mishanec at nora.mishanec@sfchronicle.com.

Source

About Orson Park

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