Travelweekly: A new plan for Maui's recovery

18.09.2023

Travelweekly.com

A new plan for Maui's recovery

BySep 18, 2023

More than a month since the Lahaina wildfires, Hawaii government officials and the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) are hoping torebuild travel demand to the island of Maui.

Since the disaster,visitor arrivals to the island have droppedfrom around 7,000 per day to about 2,000 to 3,000 per day. The economic impact is immense, andit could take years for Maui's visitor numbers to return to where they were, according to the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii.

To help with this, the Hawaii Tourism Authority board of directors recently approved $2.6 million in funding for theMaui Marketing Recovery Plan.

"HTA board members and staff had the opportunity to visit Maui over the past week to meet with residents and business owners and listen to them about the challenges they now face with visitor arrivals decreasing significantly since Aug. 8," said Blaine Miyasato, HTA board chair, in a press release.

"It was clear that HTA needed to immediately bolster its existing efforts to ensure Hawaii remains a top vacation destination for travelers in the months and years ahead," Miyasato said. "The board voted unanimously to approve funds for this critical plan to deliver a clear message: Respectful, compassionate, responsible travel to the accessible areas of Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands is welcomed and encouraged, now more than ever."

Though the HTA's hope is to bring back visitors, the plan appears to be in line with its other sustainable tourism initiatives that focus on caring for the land and attracting the thoughtful traveler. It doesn't want to bring everyone and anyone, but rather responsible travelers who are willing to seek out and support local businesses, such as the shops, eateries and services.

West Maui will reopen to travelers on Oct. 8

BySep 16, 2023
Kaanapali Beach at sunset. On Sep. 8, the one-month anniversary of the fire that devasted the Maui town of Lahaina, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced that travel restrictions to West Maui will be lifted beginning Oct. 8.
Kaanapali Beach at sunset. On Sep. 8, the one-month anniversary of the fire that devasted the Maui town of Lahaina, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced that travel restrictions to West Maui will be lifted beginning Oct. 8. Photo Credit: Susanne Pommer/ShutterstockOn Sep. 8, the one-month anniversary of thefires that devasted the Maui town of Lahaina, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced thattravel restrictions to West Maui will be lifted beginning Oct. 8.

"Many have asked when it will be the right time to reopen West Maui to visitors. There is no easy answer to this question, but I can say that if we support Maui's economy and keep our people employed, they will heal faster and continue to afford to live on Maui," Green said in his Sep. 8 public address.

"Beginning Oct. 8, all travel restrictions will end and West Maui will be open to visitors again, so people from Hawaii and around the world can resume travel to this special place and help it begin to recover economically," Green said. "This difficult decision [to open West Maui for visitors] is meant to bring hope for recovery to the families and businesses on Maui that have been so deeply affected in every way by the disaster."

With this update, travelers will be able to return to Kaanapali, Kapalua, Napili and other West Maui towns. Lahaina, however, will remain closed.

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