Updated on Aug 16: “All non-essential travel to West Maui (including Lāhainā, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through the month of August, Governor Josh Green said in his August 13 emergency proclamation. Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations.
The travel industry is focused on supporting residents who lost loved ones, homes, their belongings, and businesses. Part of this islandwide recovery is ensuring that Maui residents who would like to continue working can do so.
Other areas of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, and Hāna), and the other Hawaiian Islands, like Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lānaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island remain open. We urge visitors to be especially mindful and respectful in our island home as our community continues through this tragedy.”
It’s hard for anyone who has visited Maui not to be in a state of shock this week. According to the Los Angeles Times, “More than four dozen people have died, dozens have been injured and hundreds of structures have been destroyed in the wildfires that have torn through Maui this week, forcing thousands to flee their homes and reducing much of the historic town of Lahaina to ash. Nearly 1,000 people are still missing.” NOTE: At the time of this publication, the death toll stands at 93 and sadly, that number is still climbing. RELATED: Maui Wildfires: Advice For Travelers and How to Help
Jason Momoa, the Hawaii-born actor, took to Instagram yesterday to tell his followers to stay away from Maui. He captioned is post saying:
“Maui is not the place to have your vacation right now.
DO NOT TRAVEL TO MAUI.
Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply.
Mahalo to everyone who has donated and shown aloha to the community in this time of need.”
His multi-page post showed video of the destruction and fire ripping through the island. On the cover of the frames he wrote, “Do not travel to Maui. If you were planning on traveling to Maui in the near future, cancel your trip. The devastation from the wildfires will have a lasting island-wide impact on Maui’s resources. Our community needs time to heal, grieve & restore. That means the less visitors on island taking up critical resources that have become extremely limited the better.”
View this post on Instagram
Another slide read, “Do not book a hotel stay. The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Hawaii Hotel Alliance are currently working with hotels in other part of Hawaii to house displaced residents. Survivors are the priority.”
Jason is only passing on the advice from locals and the tourism board who just sent out an update to media titled, “Visitors Urged to Forego Travel Plans to West Maui.”
The press release states, “Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future. Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island. About 46,000 people have flown out of Kahului Airport since Wednesday.
In the weeks ahead, the collective resources and attention of the federal, state and county government, the West Maui community, and the travel industry must be focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.
Visitors with plans to stay in West Maui in the coming weeks and months are urged to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time when the overall situation has improved for area residents.
Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations. At this time, many hotels are housing their employees and families until the fires in West Maui are fully contained and travel on the roadways is safe. These same hotels are preparing to house evacuees and first responders working on disaster recovery.
While efforts are underway to restore basic services, like power and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach West Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation improves.”
The tourism board is saying West Maui and not the whole island, I assume not to impact their other tourism partners on the 727 square mile island. But they did say that travel to the other Hawaiian Islands, like Kauai, Oahu, Lānai, and Hawaii Island are not affected at this time.
Updated on Aug 15: “Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations. While efforts are underway to fully restore electrical power, municipal water and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach West Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation stabilizes. Visitors with travel plans to other parts of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, and Mākena) should reach out to their accommodations to ensure they can still be hosted.”
Although I hear the other parts of the island is business as usual, it would be difficult for me to vacation there knowing the struggles and hurt people are going through just miles away. The optics aren’t great either as Paris Hilton is learning the hard way. Here’s the headline from The Independent: Paris Hilton enjoys Maui beach holiday just miles from fire-ravaged town of Lahaina.
For updates, visit the County of Maui website.
How to Help
If you have the means to support the good people of Maui, here are some verified organizations:
–Maui Strong – Hawaii Community Foundation
–Maui Fire and Disaster Relief Donations Page
–Maui Food Bank
–American Red Cross