BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Expert says travel to Maui should be postponed

Aug 15, 2023, 5:30 AM | Updated: 11:00 am

maui fire damage, officials are asking tourists to stay away...

Destroyed buildings and homes are pictured in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on August 11, 2023. (Paula Ramon/AFP via Getty Images)

(Paula Ramon/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Maui has always been a popular tourist destination. 

In light of the devastating wildfires last week, however, Hawaii officials are urging tourists to stay away.

Officials said they are trying to free up as many hotel rooms as possible for residents who have lost their homes, as well as first responders.

Kathy Hirst, manager at Morris Columbus Travel, echoed the same thing.

 

“What we’re telling people is essentially what you’re saying is that now is not the time to be going to Maui,” she said. 

Hirst said airlines and hotels are being “very generous” with tourists on their cancelation policies.

“Obviously, airlines are letting you change to a different destination or even refund you with no penalty,” she said. “Of course, they are discouraging people from going right now and really even into September.”

Hirst said even if you aren’t going to the impacted areas, you should still stay away.

“Even if you’re not staying at the west shore in the area,” she said. “They are trying to free up resources on the island itself. And even if you’re not staying close to that area, things might be affected for a long time.”

She said hotels and Airbnbs should be very flexible over the next month.

KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega asked, “Is it fair to say that a huge portion of the economy in Maui is tourism-based?”

“Very much so,” Hirst said. “They were so affected by COVID, finally recovering and getting back on their feet in the last couple of years, and now this.”

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Expert says travel to Maui should be postponed