Map of Maui Travel areas after fire. Courtesy GoHawaii

Map credit & courtesy GoHawaii

Should I travel to Maui now?

The decision of whether to visit Maui is a personal one that each guest must make.  We encourage guests with current Maui travel plans, particularly reservations after October 1 to the unaffected areas (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia, and Hāna) to consider maintaining their reservations.

For guests with Maui travel plans to Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua please check with your hotel or host for the latest re-opening information. This is especially important for existing reservations after October 17.  The town of Lahaina and immediate vicinity will remain closed to non-residents.  All guests should be especially mindful and respectful while visiting Maui as the community continues through this extremely difficult time.

What are the current Travel Guidelines for Maui?

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating Lahaina fire, the decision was made by state and local government officials to request tourists on Maui to depart the island and for individuals to limit travel to Maui for essential purposes only. This was done to concentrate all available resources on Maui towards supporting those affected by the disaster. In the weeks since the fire, both federal and state relief resources have arrived in full force, resulting in significant progress and a change in travel guidance.  Now, travel and tourism are encouraged for the majority of Maui, which was not directly impacted by the fires.

As of August 22, West Maui/Lahaina remains closed. However, the rest of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia, and Hāna) is open, although it is undergoing considerable economic hardship due to the exodus of visitors. During President Biden’s recent visit, Governor Green emphasized, “All other areas of Maui… and the rest of Hawaiʻi are safe. When you visit, you’ll be supporting our local economy and aiding in the recovery of those currently suffering.”

How is Maui being impacted by the loss of Visitors?

The car rental lots at Kahului Airport are overflowing into the fields surrounding the airport due to an excess of vehicles caused by the absence of visitors. Maui is facing a dual disaster: the fires and the subsequent loss of jobs and small businesses, just as it was recovering from the impact of COVID-19. Unlike the pandemic, the economic relief resources flowing into the County are not available to address the indirect consequences of the disaster and are limited to the region and residents directly affected by the fires.

A recent August 21 CBS News article provides an overview of current economic conditions and the vital need for tourists to return.  The article discusses the aftermath of the wildfires in Maui and the impact on local businesses and tourism.

Javier Cantellops, a boat captain and dive tour operator, urges people to visit Maui despite the recent wildfires that devastated parts of the island. He emphasizes that while the west side, particularly Lahaina, is closed and affected, the rest of Maui is open and dire in need of tourism to support recovery efforts.

Cancelling planned trips is hurting small businesses on the island. Cantellops estimates his two businesses have lost between $35,000 to $38,000 in revenue due to canceled bookings within a week. The impact ripples through the community, affecting restaurants, farmers, and activity operators.

The loss of tourism revenue hampers the efforts of unaffected areas to support those who have lost everything. Local businesses that rely on tourism, like restaurants and farms, are suffering. Nutcharee Case, a Thai restaurant owner, expresses the need for tourists to continue coming to support local businesses and help the community recover. However, due to decreased tourism, her business and others are experiencing significant declines.

The article also highlights the broader context of recovering from both wildfires and the economic blow caused by COVID-19. Okoa Farms, which supplies produce to local restaurants, faces challenges as restaurants struggle. Ryan Eareheart, the owner, stresses the importance of tourists supporting local businesses that remain open.

Gabe Lucy, president of Sail Trilogy, underscores that Maui is open for tourism despite the wildfires affecting some areas. He emphasizes responsible visitors and tourism as essential for the island’s recovery. Mass layoffs are occurring, and the survival of Maui relies on various parts of the island thriving, making the return of tourists crucial for overall recovery.

Where can I find additional information about the Maui Fire & Resources?

Link to Hawai‘i Tourism Authority – Maui Fire Page

Link to Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency – Maui Fire Page

Link to Hawai‘I Wildfire Recovery and Resilience Resource Guide

Link to Maui Chamber of Commerce

To provide direct support to Maui Relief Organizations, please consider a donation to one of the organizations listed below:









MAUI Fire: Additional Resources & Information

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