West Maui Communities Will Reopen Fully on Oct. 8

Residents and visitors are encouraged to support area hotels and businesses.

Nonessential travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged, at least through August. Photo Credit: RandyJay for Adobe Stock

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The West Maui communities of Kaanapali, Napili, Honokowai and Kapalua will reopen fully on Sunday, Oct. 8, two months after the wildfires that destroyed Lahaina, according to an emergency proclamation issued by Hawaii Gov. Josh Green. Hawaii residents and visitors are encouraged to make travel plans to Maui and support the island’s businesses, restaurants, retail outlets, attractions and accommodations. The emergency is economic: These destinations and their residents are heavily dependent on tourism.

“Beginning Oct. 8, all travel restrictions will end, and West Maui will be open to visitors again, so people from Hawaii and around the world can resume travel to this special place and help it begin to recover economically,” the governor stated. “This difficult decision is meant to bring hope for recovery to the families and businesses on Maui that have been so deeply affected in every way by the disaster.”

Maui’s Economy Needs Tourism

Since the crisis, tourism to Maui overall has dropped by about 70 percent. Although Maui hotels are housing federal aid workers and Lahaina residents who lost their homes, only half of available hotel rooms on the island are occupied, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association estimates.

Lahaina Remains Closed Indefinitely

While Lahaina itself will remain closed to the public until further notice, out of respect to the town’s residents, county, state and federal emergency responders continue with efforts to identify victims and the missing, and conduct clean-up efforts of debris and hazardous materials resulting from the wildfires.

“No one in Hawaii will ever forget the tragedy that our friends, families, loved ones, and colleagues in Lahaina are enduring,” said Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i, chief administrative officer of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “The response from residents statewide and by people around the world to support Maui’s recovery has been incredible and inspiring. Now is the time for people everywhere to show their support for Maui by booking trips, making restaurant reservations, and frequenting Maui’s retail stores and attractions that support workers and their families.” 

HTA Approves $2.6M Recovery Plan

The Hawaii Tourism Authority's board of directors took decisive action at its monthly board meeting on Aug. 31 to approve $2.6 million in funding to launch the Maui Marketing Recovery Plan, centered around a new Mālama Maui campaign, which offers financial incentives for visitors who participate in volunteer activities. The plan's focus is to rebuild responsible travel demand from the mainland United States market to Maui.

HTA staff and board members were on Maui over the past weeks to meet with residents and business owners and hear about the challenges they now face with visitor arrivals decreasing significantly since Aug. 8. Travelerse help support the economy, frequenting local shops, dining at local restaurants, and enjoying local activities, ultimately aiding in the island’s overall recovery efforts.

Northstar Meetings Group will hold its annual Destination Hawaii hosted-buyer event at Maui's Wailea Beach Resort, Nov. 7-10, 2023.

Donations Needed for Recovery Efforts

Donations to help communities and families recover on Maui can be made through the Maui Strong Fund [https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong] that was established by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.