Active lava flow boosts local economy on the Big Island

Published: Aug. 10, 2016 at 1:33 AM HST
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KILAUEA VOLCANO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tour operators say they're seeing a spike in customers ever since lava from Kilauea started to drip into the ocean at Kamokuna.

Lava Ocean Tours, which offers catamaran rides to see lava entering the ocean, says its tours have been selling out. they take 40 passengers per boat four times a day.

It's not just tour companies that are feeling an economic boom. Local businesses are also getting more traffic from all the excitement over the lava.

"When the lava flows on the Big Island, it's a catalyst. It feeds the whole local economy. When we take people out, they go eat in the local restaurants, they go buy gas, they go buy pictures and galleries," said Shane Turpin, a Captain at Lava Ocean Tours.

"It's a very neat symbiotic relationship we all share with the lava," he said.

But Hawaii County Civil Defense says as the lava continues to flow - the hazards continue to rise.

Officials have roped off areas near Halema'uma'u Crater after an explosion at Kilauea's summit Saturday which destroyed computer systems used to monitor the volcano and triggered a small landslide.

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