September 30, 2023

Hawaii asks tourists to return after the fire

This is a question many tourists have had to ask themselves in light of the devastating fires that broke out on August 8 in Hawaii. At first the answer was simple: for longer. About a week after the disaster, US state authorities called on travelers not to come.

Actor Jason Momoa, who grew up in Honolulu, wrote on Instagram: “Maui isn’t the place to go on vacation right now. Don’t tell yourself that being on the island is necessary.”

But now the situation has changed radically. “South Maui needs tourists,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz wrote on X, previously on Twitter. Anyone planning a trip to Wailea or Kihei should not cancel it.

Governor Josh Green and the Department of Tourism are also encouraging travelers to come. Entry is only allowed to West Maui, where the town of Lahaina has been devastated by fires. Search and rescue work continues there. However, the rest of the island is safe to visit.

The call for tourists to travel to Hawaii comes amid high unemployment. Senator Schatz writes that layoffs at resorts are increasing due to a lack of visitors. CNBC reports that the number of jobless claims has risen sharply since the fires, from 130 in the week before the fires to nearly 4,500 in the past week.

Then Governor Green also says, “If you come, you support our local economy and accelerate people’s recovery.” The fires caused damages estimated at between four and six billion US dollars. At least 115 people have died.

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