Businesses push organizers to keep Maui Invitational on the Valley Isle
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As organizers of the Maui Invitational consider whether to move the tournament from Lahaina this year, Maui County businesses are pushing for the event to remain on the Valley Isle.
No final decision has been made, but Gov. Josh Green said this week that this year’s invitational will likely be moved to Oahu.
The premier college basketball tourney typically generates $16 million in visitor spending.
The head of the Maui Camber of Commerce represents 650 businesses on island and says that cash infusion is critical for the economy, especially after the wildfires.
“We have so many people calling and saying they want this tournament on Maui,” said MCC president Pamela Tumpap. “We’ve got businesses across the island who said every year that this comes, I may be in south Maui, I may be out in Upcountry, stores in Makawao, but every year that tournament is held, people come up and shop at my store.”
Tumpap adds there is some confusion among the business community as to why the tournament would be moved when the state is planning to reopen West Maui to visitors in early October.
“We’re fighting to open things up as quickly as possible,” Tumpap said. “Get people back employed and not have them make decisions every night over dinner on how long can I hang out with this? When I don’t know when my job is gonna come back. The owner doesn’t know when my job is gonna come back.”
A final call on the tournament location is expected soon.
Green has mentioned that he is pushing for tournament organizers to bring smaller basketball related events to Maui, such as a youth camp or slam dunk contest.
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