Hawaii Tourism Authority Issues Updated Travel Advisory For Maui

Hawaii Tourism Authority Issues Updated Travel Advisory For Maui

Access to West Maui continues to be restricted following large wildfires that ravaged the area and led to at least 99 deaths.

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority has announced that while travel to other parts of the island, including Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea and Makena, is allowed, West Maui will not be open to tourists at least through the end of August. These areas that are closed to visitors include Lahaina, Napili, Kaʻanapali and Kapalua.

“In the weeks ahead, the collective resources and attention of the federal, state and county government, the West Maui community, and the travel industry must be focused on the recovery of residents who lost loved ones, homes, their belongings, and businesses,” the Tourism Authority update says.

Crews are still going through the remains of buildings decimated by the fire, and hope to have 85% to 90% searched by the weekend. While many residents are still missing, that may be because they had to leave behind phones and other communication devices as they quickly escaped.

As the search continues for missing residents, Hawai’i Governor Josh Green released an updated emergency proclamation that officially activated the Hawai’i National Guard to assist in disaster relief and discouraged all non-essential travel to the West Maui area.

“Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island,” Green’s proclamation states. “Hotels and other accommodations are needed for displaced residents and emergency workers.”

At the present time, many hotels in West Maui are without electricity and water. Those accommodations that are still operating are sheltering employees and local residents who lost their homes in the fire. Owners of rental housing are encouraged to open their facilities to other displaced community members through the Hawai’i Fire Relief Housing Program. As well, Airbnb.org has announced its plans, working with its network of hosts, to make housing available for another 1,000 people.

Most major airlines that fly into the Kahului Airport in Maui are allowing tourists to change or cancel their flights for no charge. If your plans include visiting a different part of Maui, officials suggest calling your hotel or accommodation host to make sure they are still open for guests. 

For the most up-to-date information about the August wildfire on Maui, please see the resources put together by the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency. Those who would like to donate to recovery efforts can do so through the Maui Strong Fund, managed through the reputable Hawai’i Community Foundation.