West Maui will be open to visitors on Nov. 1.
All of West Maui will officially welcome visitors again starting Nov. 1 following the devastating wildfires that swept the island destination in August. It marks the first time since the fires began that all of the western side of the island — save the burned-out section of Lāhainā — will be open for tourism.
“Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced that the rest of West Maui north of Lahaina — Phases 2 and 3 from Kahana to Kā‘anapali — will begin reopening on Wednesday, November 1,” a media release from Bissen's office announced on Monday.
Lāhainā, the wildfires’ impact zone, remains closed to visitors until further notice out of respect for the town’s residents.
“The Red Cross has assured me that housing for displaced Lāhainā residents, including those staying in hotels, is not in jeopardy,” Bissen said in the release. “In addition, the County has a commitment from other partners to work on developing child care programs for displaced families. Sheltering close to 7,000 survivors remains a critical focus of our efforts and their needs are our priority.”
The reopening combines the final two phases and will have no impact on the housing for displaced wildfire survivors, Bissen said.
The announcement comes after Hawaii Governor Josh Green signed an emergency proclamation that lifted the travel ban to the area starting Oct. 8. Bissen modified Green’s plan to include a phased reopening that began with the phase one opening of Ritz-Carlton, Maui Kapalua to Kahana Villa Oct. 8 with the rest of West Maui to follow at undetermined dates.
Though the announcement signals a return to normal travel in Maui, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority advises travelers “check with individual accommodations, activities and businesses in West Maui for their availability and hours of operation.”
The announcement of a full reopening comes as a relief for local business owners who depend on tourism spending.
The University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization estimates Maui lost more than $13 million of visitor spending each day and Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reports arrivals by air to Maui were less than half the volume of August 2022.“One of the best things that guests can do to help Maui is to come back to Maui…to come help support local,” Wendy Tuivaioge, Director of Hawaiian Programs at Four Seasons Maui, said in a video shared by the Maui Visitors Bureau.
“We welcome them with open arms and we tell them, ‘Yes, come back and visit Maui,’” Tuivaioge said.
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