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Should tourists keep Maui travel plans?

Over 1,000 unaccounted for after Maui wildfires

MAUI, Hawaii (WISH) — Conflicting information has travelers confused. Should they cancel their vacations to Maui amid deadly wildfires?

Tourism is Maui’s No. 1 economic driver, according to the Maui Economic Development Board.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the island tried to shift from this model to a more self-sustainable financial support system, but was unsuccessful, Maui Guide said.

It says tourism and financial support on the island will be crucial for the community’s recovery.

But, not yet.

“It’s happening already,” Daniel Kalahiki, a local food truck owner, said in an Instagram video post.

In the video, Kalahiki begs tourists to keep plans to visit the island.

“People are losing their jobs, losing their businesses,” Kalahiki said. “All over Maui, not just Lahaina. People fearing where their next paycheck is going to come from, worried about how they’re going to pay their bills now. We’ve been sending so much love and support for Lahaina that everybody forgot about the rest of Maui.”

Viewers shared conflicting opinions in the comment section of the post.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority wants potential travelers to stay updated on the developments.

It also notes that the state’s Gov. Josh Green is asking visitors to delay all nonessential travel to West Maui for at least August.

Hotels in the area have temporarily stopped accepting bookings for future reservations.

Maui Guide and other organizations don’t want to scare tourists away, though.

Maui Guide is made up of a small group of residents who are passionate about the island. The online tour guide site says other parts of Maui are open, power is being restored, and the island will not only be ready to host tourists again soon to start to recover.

Maui Guide asks travelers who have August plans to postpone. They ask anyone with September travel plans to “wait and see.”

As far as October travel plans, it says that “we’ll need your support. Please don’t cancel.”

Lahaina, a historic and popular tourist destination on the island, is destroyed as well as much of West Maui. Front Street was a restaurant hub where thousands of people have taken photos around and in the historic banyan tree. Local stores offered tourists a shopping experience to savor with ocean views.

If travelers do keep plans to visit the island, Maui Guide says don’t go to Lahaina and visit the rest of the island with respect.

“Do not take a selfie with someone’s burnt house behind you,” the site says. “This tragedy will haunt our lives as a community forever, and there will be a very short fuse for any disrespectful actions by way of visitors. If you’re staying in Kahana, Kaanapali, Napili or Kapalua, use the bypass when traveling and stick to unaffected areas.”

Between Maui Guide and the Maui Information Guide, helpful information is available to tourists. The information includes the wildfire status, and how to get around the island.