Waikiki tourism industry prepares for Tropical Storm Ana

Tourism prepares for Ana
George Szigeti
George Szigeti

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Tropical Storm Ana heads this way, Waikiki's visitor industry is ramping up its disaster preparations.

Some hotels are looking to put sandbags on the beachfront, others are setting up stations in their lobbies to keep visitors updated on the storm's path and and all are making sure they have enough food and water to last for days.

It's all part of a well-rehearsed drill that's been in place for years.

"This has been a very busy summer. We've gone through a few of these things and we're well prepared," said George Szigeti, CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association.

City officials remain daily contact with Waikiki hotels ensuring there's adequate shelter space and that there's enough transportation for tourists and hotel workers.

"We even have a list of work shifts so we can coordinate the bus delivery of workers so we can get them back," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

"We are planning again for the worst but we are hoping for the best. That's what always happens here."

Back in August during Tropical Storm Iselle, bus service to Waikiki was sharply reduced, making it difficult for workers to get to and from the hotels.

"We heard from the visitor industry saying we need people to get into Waikiki can you help us and we stepped up," Caldwell said.

Some visitors are taking the storm warnings in stride.

"I don't mind the rain. I don't think it will ruin my vacation because I've done these hurricane vacations before," said Canadian visitor Cheryl Carter.

But other travelers are worried.

"I spoke to one of my hoteliers recently and he said he's seen some cancellations. That's expected. We hope it's short-lived," said Szigeti.

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