VALLEY ISLE EXCURSION TRAVELER INFO UPDATES
IS THE ROAD TO HANA DESTROYED?
We Have Resumed Our Road to Hana Tour and Haleakala Sunrise Tour with Our Community, Employees, and Local Economy in Mind.
- Maui is Open: While West Maui is currently recovering, other parts of Maui remain open and welcoming to visitors.
- Road to Hana is Open: The fires did not reach the Hana Highway and The Road to Hana stands unscathed.
- Sensitivity & Balance: Understand the delicate balance between the needs & priorities of our residents as well as the economic support of a healthy visitor industry.
- Be the Right Kind of Visitor: If you’re visiting, consider volunteering, adopting a family, or showing aloha and patience to the locals.
- Economic Impact: The visitor industry is vital to Maui’s economy. Support local businesses to help the community rebuild and thrive.
- Don’t Cancel: If you’re staying in unaffected areas, please consider continuing with your travel plans. A drastic reduction in tourism on Maui has a significant financial impact on all Maui businesses, employees and their families.
The Best Way we Can Support our Island Community Impacted by the Maui Wildfires is to Imua (keep moving forward).
As we navigate through the devastation of the Maui wildfires, there’s been some confusion regarding the status of visitors on the island. We’d like to provide clarity and our perspective on this matter.
Perspective for Maui Tourists to Consider:
Safety Concerns: The West side of Maui, which bore the brunt of the devastation, houses approximately 3/4 of our visitor accommodations. With Maui in its peak tourist season, many hotels were at or near capacity. The immediate evacuation was a necessary measure to ensure the safety of all, especially given the unpredictable nature of the spreading fires.
Resource Management: The wildfires led to road closures, preventing visitors from accessing their accommodations. Many found themselves seeking shelter and purchasing essentials from local stores. Given that Hawaii imports about 90% of its goods, it was imperative to conserve resources for the local community, especially when trying to cater to both the immediate needs of the locals and the influx of visitors.
Accommodation Priorities: With the displacement of numerous local families in West Maui, priority for hotel accommodations is being given to them. We kindly ask visitors to allow the Lahaina community the space and time they need to heal and rebuild. However, several areas in Maui remain open for visitor accommodations, including:
Sensitivity & Balance: Hawaii’s ongoing challenge has been to strike a balance between the cultural values and priorities of its people (such as caring for the land and natural resources) and the economic support of our tourism industry. While the sentiment of “don’t come here” isn’t new, the recent fires have amplified this sentiment. We are not discouraging visits, but we are advocating for responsible and empathetic tourism.
The Right Kind of Visitor: We welcome visitors who are eager to help and support. Consider volunteering a day to assist with relief efforts or “adopt” a family to support their specific needs.
Reverence: While many come to Maui for a vacation, it’s essential to recognize the widespread grief and devastation. Every local has, in some way, been affected by the fires. We urge visitors to be patient and show genuine aloha to our community.
Economic Impact: The potential decline in tourism poses a threat to our economy. If the tourism sector collapses, many locals, already affected by the fires, may lose their livelihoods, making rebuilding even more challenging.
Support Local: Our team members, who once rushed to aid during the crisis, are now facing unemployment due to the fire’s indirect impacts. We urge visitors to support local businesses including restaurants, retail and activities.
Donations: There are many reputable and trusted organizations coordinating fundraisers We recommend supporting the Hawaii Community Foundation’s MAUI STRONG FUND. They’re not only assisting the immediate needs of the community but also working long-term to ensure local families remain on the islands.
Reconsider Cancellations: For those planning to visit areas unaffected by the fires, we urge you not to cancel. The financial strain from cancellations is immense, and many businesses, including ours, are feeling the impact.
Your understanding and support can make a significant difference during these trying times. Together, we can help Maui heal and thrive once again.
How You Can Help:
- Kokua (Help): Dedicate a day of your trip to volunteer. Assist in organizing and distributing supplies to those affected. The County of Maui’s Maui Nui Strong website has a thorough list for your consideration.
- 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. Shop local vendors and engage in locally run activities.
- Direct 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. In addition, the County of Maui’s Maui Nui Strong website lists a number of reputable and trusted charities raising funds support for Lahaina and families impacted by the fires.
As of August 18th, Maui has received an overwhelming amount of food and supply donations from near and far. There is not enough available storage and not enough hands to sort through the high volume miscellaneous material donations at this time. Furthermore, many families cannot make use of certain donated items until they are situated into temporary housing. The more efficient way for individuals to support is through monetary donations that will allow families to receive precise immediate and long-term needs OR to volunteer your time and service.
We understand the mixed emotions that come with visiting during such times. However, with your support and understanding, we believe that together, we can help Maui rebuild stronger and more resilient than ever. Thank you for being a part of our journey.
About Valley Isle Excursions
Valley Isle Excursions is a locally owned and operated Maui-based tour company focused on fostering mindful travelers, being Ambassadors of Aloha, and providing quality authentic tour experiences for Maui visitors. We have been touring in with Aloha 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.”