West Maui is officially open to tourism again, two months after a devastating wildfire swept through the region. The fire destroyed over 2,000 structures, including many homes and businesses, and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage.
The wildfire had a significant impact on the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. In the weeks and months after the fire, many hotels and businesses were forced to close or operate at reduced capacity. However, the West Maui community has shown remarkable resilience, and there has been a steady increase in tourism activity in recent weeks.
The West Maui community has come together in a remarkable way to support each other and rebuild in the wake of the wildfire. Many residents have volunteered their time to help clean up debris, rebuild homes, and provide assistance to those who were displaced. Local businesses have also donated money and supplies to help with the relief effort.
While Tourism Is Essential to the Local Economy, Many Have Mixed Feelings
While the reopening of tourism is essential to the local economy, many locals have mixed feelings about welcoming tourists back. Some are concerned about the impact that tourism will have on the environment and the community, while others are worried about the spread of COVID-19. A petition calling for the delay of the reopening received over 14,000 signatures, but the governor ultimately decided to proceed regardless.
“Constant communication has shown me that most people want to begin to get back to normal,” Green said. “It’s not surprising at all that people are struggling, that they’re recovering, but if I waited another month or two months or two years … everybody, not only in West Maui, would have lost all of their resources and had to leave, but so would the rest of Maui fold because this is part of an ecosystem.”
Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting
If you’re planning a trip to West Maui, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to be respectful of the community and the environment. Many people are still recovering from the fire, and there are still some areas that are off-limits. While tourists can help the economy recover and many local businesses are relying on visitors to help, it’s important you understand the context of the situation and the impact of your trip.
Second, be aware that there may be some disruptions to services and amenities. Some businesses are still closed or operating at limited capacity. And while the beaches are open, there may be some restrictions in place.
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Photo Credit: [@tomasfoto/DepositPhotos]
Nic DeAngio is a freelance writer from Richmond, VA. He has traveled throughout the United States and Europe and always has his next trip in mind – and an ever-expanding bucket list of destinations to visit. Nic loves trying local cuisine, photographing exotic locations, and wandering foreign cities to find hole-in-the-wall gems others may overlook.