Hawaiis $2.4 bn industry is fighting in the wake of the Kilauea Volcano eruptions, with bookings for May through July down 50%
David Collier, who has been guiding trip-ups on the island for a decade, clutched the wheel of a 13 -person van last week on the road up to Mauna Kea observatory. Up until Kilauea began erupting this month, his full-time task was taking visitors on three separate volcano-related tours. Now, with Hawaii Volcanoes national park shut and different districts of Puna inundated with lava, two of those three tours are cancelled until further notice.
” As of this morning, the road where I’ve been conducting tours for a decade is no longer there ,” he told.” Thing are changing .”
Hawaii island’s $ 2.4 bn tourism industry is fighting in the wake of the Kilauea volcano eruptions, with bookings for May through July down 50%, in agreement with the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau. Businesses on the island are doing their best to convince tourists that it’s still safe to visit.
If tourism falterings much longer, Collier reasoned, there’s still plenty of work in the astronomy industry located on this 13,000 -foot-high dormant volcano. Mauna Kea- the most significant peak in the world when measured from its base on the seabed- is a mecca for astronomers, as well as tourists. But his feelings about the volcano are mixed: it is eruptions like Kilauea’s that created the island in the first place.
” Pele has awoken and is wreaking her destruction upon us, but I never forget that without her I would not have this beautiful place to bellow home ,” he told.” We all understand the remaining balance of these forces here on Hawaii island .”
Doug Arnott, who owns the tour corporation Collier works for, Arnott’s Lodge& Hiking, said he’s far more concerned with the potential economic tragedy than he is about Kilauea, which is located about 30 miles away from his hometown of Hilo. The decision by major sail lines to cancel their regular stops in the port of Hilo were particularly frustrating, he said.
” What’s happening is simply affecting a very small slice of small island developing ,” he said. In the last couple weeks, he told, five regular cruise ship stops have been cancelled. When those guests don’t come, he has to cancel his tours.
Until the eruption, tourism on Hawaii was growing. In 2017, the 1.7 million people visited” The Big Island” and spent 14% more than the year before, according to Guests Bureau statistics.