During a Pathways to Recovery Webinar on September 8th, Hawaii Governor Josh Green announced that West Maui will be open for tourism on October 8th. The Governor cited the need for tourism jobs as an essential component of recovery.
Following the tragic wildfires in early August, the number of visitors to Maui shrank around 70%. Many airlines and hotels are offering deep discounts throughout Hawaii to encourage visitors. Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island and tourism represents a large part of their economy. Though West Maui was deeply impacted by the recent fires, the rest of the island remains safe to visit.
Governor Green’s announcement was made just one month after wildfires ravaged the town of Lahaina, destroying more than 2,000 buildings, killing 115 people and leaving many unaccounted for.
Though Lahaina will face an expensive rebuilding process, many areas in Maui were not damaged by the fires. While the state of Hawaii has discouraged tourists from visiting West Maui, the road is still open, allowing rescue workers and residents to come and go. A majority of the island of Maui is not included in the non-visitation request, and West Maui includes about 15% of the island as a whole. Outside of West Maui and some parts of Kula, the island is conducting business as usual, and the other islands of Hawaii remain relatively unaffected.
During his announcement, the Hawaiian Governor suggested that while the fires were certainly an unforgettable tragedy, booking trips to Maui and visiting their hotels, shopping centers and attractions would be central to the recovery of the area. Much of Maui’s income is dependent on tourism and October and November are popular months to visit the island. Maui is known for its scenic beaches, volcanoes and waterfalls. Humpback whale-watching during the months of December and April is another popular activity on the island.