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Home / US / Most of the Big Island is open to business, officials say

Most of the Big Island is open to business, officials say





  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Tiffany Hunt, owner of Jeff Hunt Surfboards Surfshop, was in the store in Pune on Friday.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Amedeo Markoff, owner of the Puna Gallery and Gift Emporium, stood in his shop in Pune on Friday.


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The steady stream of tourists to Pahoa had barely changed on Friday when it became known that the volcano Kilauea erupted on the island of Hawaii and caused large earthquakes.

As the news of the disaster spread, the officers dragged visitors safely to a relatively small area of ​​the Big Island and had no impact on tourism in other parts of the island or other islands.

NBC's "Today" show ran Friday's video of hot-pink smoke billowing over Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Other media showed fiery lava coming from cracks in the Leilani site, whose inhabitants were forced to evacuate due to dangerous air quality and unstable lava conditions.

Get the Latest Hawaii Island Updates:
Hawaii County Civil Defense: Hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: hvo.wr.usgs.gov
Travelers planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands who have questions should call 1-800-GOHAWAII (1-800-464-2924).

"We've heard from people around the world who are worried about Hawaii's well-being and would like to assure everyone that this is limited to a remote region on the slopes of Kilauea volcano – everything else in the Hawaiian Islands is of it not affected, "said Governor David Ige in a press release.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority announced on Friday that Hawaii is located on the resort-laden west side of Kona and the Kohala Coast is more than 100 miles from where lava flows. HTA said resorts on Oahu and Kauai and Maui County are even longer distances from Kilauea.

George Szigeti, HTA President and CEO, told travelers that flights are not affected.

"Travelers can fully enjoy their holiday experience in the Hawaiian Islands, with the only warning that they stay away from areas that are closed to the public for their own safety," Szigeti said in a statement.

This is an important message given these misconceptions about the flooding last month on the north coast of Kauai causing tourism downturns in communities as far away as Kapaa, Lihue and Poipu, said Theresa van Greunen, Aqua-Aston Hospitality spokeswoman.

The lava eruption can have both negative and positive effects on tourism. 19659008] A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook East Hawaii on Friday, causing closures, including the entire Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, which attracted over 2 million visitors last year. The State Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the Lava Tree State Monument and the Mackenzie State Recreation Area

Miles Yoshioka, a senior executive at the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, said the impact of tourism and businesses was mainly on the Puna community , 19659008] "It's a small area that is affected but is at home for us. On the Hilo side we have members out there, I had a bed and breakfast member who had to evacuate Leilani Estates," Yoshioka said ,

The increase in volcanic activity led to the introduction of a no-fly zone over Kilauea with a distance of 5 miles tourist activity. Helicopter companies typically see increases in lava viewing bookings when outbreaks occur, said Cal Dorn, CEO of Paradise Helicopters.

"Borders are too robust, we get calls from media companies, and we can not get them close enough to see them," Dorn said.

In other parts of Hawaii it was mostly business as usual, in some cases even better

Before the big earthquake on Friday, the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and the Volcano House Hotel reported increased visits. The same day park attendant Jessica Ferracane announced that the park was closed and 2,600 visitors were evacuated. Guests at the hotel and Kilauea Military Camp were also resettled, and all non-emergency park staff were sent home.

Outside these areas, some stores of the visitor industry flourished. Aston Kona by the sea was sold out on Friday, van Greunen said.

"After the outbreak we had a lot of bookings," said van Greunen. "When the floods came to Kauai, we saw a decline in people worried about safety, but that's the opposite, an active lava flow is something people will see, it's on their bucket list." [19659008] Hilo Hawaiian Hotel reported that additional business of military and evacuees based occupancy rates from the low 90s to the high 90s.

] Travelers planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands can obtain more information at 1-800-GOHAWAII (1-800-464-2924).


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