Sold-out bookings, full occupancy: Mauna Loa eruption proves a boon for tourism industry

The majority of the hotels in Hilo are fully booked.
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 9:32 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2022 at 10:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The holiday season is already a busy time for businesses, but as soon as Mauna Loa erupted, it has been all hands on deck for the tourism industry.

The majority of the hotels in Hilo are fully booked, including the Dolphin Bay Hotel.

Office Manager Christine Ghiasi said they’re filled through the middle of the week.

“People calling in last minute trying to see if there’s room mostly from the neighbor islands,” said Ghiasi.

Alexandra Durham, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Paradise Helicopters, said they are booked through Christmas.

“We’ve definitely had to sort of pull in some resources from our other bases, we have a base at Turtle Bay Resort, and Hilo as well,” said Durham. “We’re going to try and accommodate everyone as much as possible.”

But as visitors from the mainland and neighbor island fly in, federal, local, and state agencies have been busy planning for if or when the lava reaches the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency got a bird’s eye view of Mauna Loa over the weekend, giving them a baseline of where the hazard was last week.

“It looks like it’s very close,” said Luke Meyers, administrator of HIEMA.

“We have to have a respect for such a large hazard like Mauna Loa, but it’s also very important that we understand that our mission is to keep people in property out of harm’s way.”