IS MAUI OPEN TO TOURISTS AFTER RECENT FIRES?
In the wake of the recent wildfires in August 2023, areas on the West side of Maui, have been greatly affected. Although the fires were concentrated in Lahaina, many areas remain open and welcoming to tourists. Visitors are encouraged to approach with understanding, support local communities, and consider the broader impact of their travel decisions.
Understanding Maui’s Current Situation for Travelers and Tourists
The recent wildfires have left an indelible mark on parts of Maui, stirring concerns among potential visitors. As the island grapples with the aftermath, it’s crucial for tourists to be informed, understanding, and considerate. While some areas, especially the West side, have been directly affected, Maui’s resilience shines through as many regions remain open and eager to share their beauty and culture. Below are things to consider for those traveling to Maui in the near future.
- Safety Measures: The West side of Maui, most affected by the fires, contains a significant portion of the island’s tourist lodgings. Given the tourist influx, evacuations were implemented as a precaution against the unpredictable fire spread.
- Resource Stewardship: Post-fire disruptions led to travel constraints. With Hawaii’s dependence on imported goods, there’s been a concerted effort to ensure resources cater primarily to the local community.
- Accommodation Adjustments: Displaced residents, particularly in West Maui, are being prioritized for hotel stays. We urge visitors to be empathetic, allowing communities like Lahaina the space to recover. The following areas remain open to tourists:
- Tourism Dynamics: The balance between tourism and local community welfare has always been delicate in Hawaii. The recent events have accentuated this balance, emphasizing the need for responsible tourism.
- Purposeful Visits: We value tourists who come with an intent to assist and understand. Allocating a day for community aid or supporting a local family can make a significant difference.
- Empathetic Approach: Beyond its picturesque landscapes, Maui is a community in recovery. We request visitors to tread with compassion, recognizing the island’s current challenges.
- Economic Concerns: A potential dip in tourism could strain our local economy. With the tourism sector under threat, many locals grapple with economic uncertainties.
- Reconsider Cancellations: If your itinerary includes areas of Maui that remain untouched by the fires, we kindly ask you to think twice before canceling. The economic repercussions of mass cancellations are profound, with numerous businesses, ours included, grappling with the consequences.
How You Can Help:
- Kokua (Help): Dedicate a day of your trip to volunteer. Assist in organizing and distributing supplies to those affected.
- Adopt a Family: Connect with a local family affected by the fires and assist with their specific needs.
- Support Local: Instead of shopping at large chains, consider eating out at local restaurants, food trucks, and eateries.
- Monetary Donations: For monetary donations, we recommend the Hawaii Community Foundation‘s “Maui Strong” fund. This organization supports local families and helps keep Lahaina lands in Lahaina community hands.
- No Material Donations Please: At this time our community is NOT calling for physical/material donations such as clothing and household or personal care items. There is an overload of supply and lack of storage facilities, sorting and distribution capacity. At this time Maui is asking that no physical donations are brought to the Island by visitors. Maui officials do not want people to bring items to donate or to send donated items. There are too many donations, and not enough people to sort and organize clothing or other supplies. There is also nowhere to store the oversupply, and families cannot take on items until they are in permanent housing.
About Valley Isle Excursions
Valley Isle Excursions is a locally owned and operated Maui-based tour company focused on perpetuating Hawaiian culture and history while being Ambassadors of Aloha. We have been touring in style and comfort since 1997 and have a reputation as Maui’s leader in educational, vehicle-based tours. We are an eco-friendly company and a proud member of the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii. Valley Isle Excursions is proud and grateful to be 1 of 4 commercial tour operators providing land tours into Haleakalā National Park (Summit District) through 2028.
“To impart to our guests a genuine understanding of the aloha spirit and help them to travel pono by fostering care and respect for our community, environment and host culture.”