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For second year, Maui Invitational won’t actually be held in Hawaii

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 6:29 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 7:12 PM HST
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LAHAINA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui Invitational won’t be held in its namesake location for the second year in a row — another major blow to the county’s economy.

“It brought a lot of people into town and into the local businesses that are down here on Front Street that normally wouldn’t come down here. So yeah, it was kind of a disappointment again two years in a row,” said Cool Cat Cafe Assistant General Manager Tiffany Quilty.

Instead, the event is moving about 3,000 miles east to Las Vegas.

In 2020, the invitational was held in North Carolina.

Tournament organizers blamed the move on the ongoing pandemic, travel restrictions and local gathering protocols in the state of Hawaii.

The Maui Invitational has been one of the county’s biggest attractions, bringing in thousands of visitors and millions of dollars.

“Calculations have shown that since its inception in 1984, it’s brought a $190 million boost to the state’s economy,” said Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association CEO Mufi Hannemann.

“These dollars are very important because it means more local businesses can operate, more local people will be employed.”

Local businesses like Cool Cat Cafe fear when events like these leave for a long time, it’s hard to win them back.

“It’s expensive to run an event here on an island. So, the more they move them off island, I think the more they’ll realize that they can do it in other places,” Quilty said.

Hannemann urged county and state officials to do “everything they can” to bring the tournament back.

“Vegas is a city that is hungry for sports. They know how to attract. It’s very appealing. So, we have to put our A-game on to make a strong statement that it needs to be played in Maui — where it belongs,” he said.

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