Hawaii has been dealing with quite a lot of wildfires in recent weeks. These fires have hit the island of Maui hard as the deadly wildfires in the western region of the island have been deadly. Hawaii is primarily run as a tourist state where roughly 70% of the jobs in the state rely on tourism to keep running. Without travelers visiting all the populated islands, businesses will shut down.
Hawaii’s Governor Josh Green has tried to put everyone at ease in hopes of keeping tourism alive for the state and the island of Maui in particular.
Due to Maui experiencing the bulk of the wildfire problems, one might assume that the area is closed for business. That is not the case, according to the Governor. In a news conference this week, Green revealed that the tourism board has advised travelers that they are still welcome to visit the other islands of Hawaii. Green also claimed that visitors can also still visit the unaffected parts of Maui too, claiming:
“Like we saw in the pandemic, decisions we made can affect everyone across the islands. So what we’re saying now is travel should not be to West Maui. But the other parts of Maui are safe.”
We know that travelers are not allowed to visit places like Lāhainā, as the search and recovery efforts continue there. Green added that the tourism board has also developed a map telling people which parts of Maui are still safe. Among the areas one can still visit, they included:
There are also specific procedures that the Governor and board have outlined on top of this, mostly to help with keeping people safe as they visit.
Maui Wildfire Drama
When the Maui wildfires first began, especially after the tragic devastation, the vocal push on social media was for people to stay away from the island. Both regular people and even organizations were advising against visiting Maui.
However, not visiting the island would potentially have a much bigger impact on the economy than the fires. If you think about it, the state cannot rebuild if the economics won’t allow for that to happen.
However, one could see how, from a safety standpoint, why one would want to steer clear of the island during this time.
Yet one should know that the Hawaii Tourism Authority shared that 10 million people visited Hawaii and spent roughly $17.75 billion in 2019. That led to over $2 billion in tax revenue for the state. Obviously, the 2020 to 2022 Pandemic impact was felt in the state. The 2023 and 2024 years were expected to be a huge comeback for the state, so the Maui wildfires could not have happened at a worse time.
This does not mean one should not visit Maui or Hawai in general, if they were planning on doing so this year. That would be another impact to recover from that the state should not have to deal with right now.
Currently, the State of Hawaii has opened a website known as “Maui Strong.” The site provides a lot of useful updates with the latest news on the island and anything regarding the fires. On top of that, it also provides resources for those that were affected by the wildfires too.
It has been advised for tourists to monitor the website as well as Hawaii’s official government website, along with checking with their airline for news on traveling throughout Hawaii.