Arrivals to Maui down 80% as tourists cancel, change plans amid wildfire disaster

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 4:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flight arrivals are down 80% to Maui as the island struggles to respond to one of the nation’s deadliest wildfires.

Government and tourism officials have repeatedly asked visitors not to travel to West Maui for the foreseeable future as the recovery work continues.

But they’ve also taken paints to say the rest of Maui remains open.

Officials are urging travelers to stay in the Wailea, Kihei, or Makena areas instead.

One reason: The state’s economy relies on the visitor industry and closing Maui could cost billions.

“The economy and tourism is a trickle-down effect. Businesses are either shutting down or thinking of shutting down because of the fact that there’s just no people there to shop and patronize,” said President and CEO of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association Mufi Hannemann.

“You don’t want them also to lose a job or an opportunity to go back to work which is why I’m calling for a very balanced approach to all of this,” said Hannemann.

While visitors are welcome, officials ask tourists to be respectful.