As protests continue, Mauna Kea closure crippling tour companies

As protests continue, Mauna Kea closure crippling tour companies
Doug Arnott estimates his company lost $10,000 this week because of the conflict on Mauna Kea that's closed access to the summit. He owns Arnott's Lodge & HIking Adventures. (Source: Doug Arnott)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mauna Kea Summit Adventures sunset and stargazing tours account for 100 percent of the small business's income.

Owner Pat Wright says the shutdown of access to the mountain has cost his Kona-based company a lot of money

"The gross revenue loss is around $31,000 as of today," he said.

Eight businesses have permits to take tours up the access road to Mauna Kea. Doug Arnott’s is one of them.

He estimates he's lost $10,000 in income in the last five days.

"Mauna Kea is a significant part of our business and it's a significant commitment of people and funding and resources to it," he said.

Wright has 12 employees who are being directly affected.

"Some of our guides have gone on unemployment," he said. "And we're cutting down the salaries for our salaried employees starting next week, and cutting down our hours there too."

Arnott said the impact of the road closure has a ripple effect that extends beyond the tour companies.

"For the daytime tours for the cruise ships we provide lunches for them. That's Affordable Catering that's not getting their work for that. We buy a great deal of water and other things from different vendors and that business is gone by the wayside as well," he said.

Wright is remaining neutral in the tug of war between the state and opponents of TMT. But the longer the mountain’s closed, the more his business suffers.

And the business he started in 1982 could go under, he says.

“I wouldn’t call that a stretch at all. I’d call that a real possibility,” he said. “You can’t run a business when you can’t open a door.”

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