New York City is the number one vacation destination in the U.S. Hawaii is number two, three and four – the advantages of having more than one island and a tropical climate. Hawaii, though, has volcanos.
The Big Island was put on high alert after the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3rd, and it’s impacting their number one industry and source of revenue – tourism. Lava has been spewing for four weeks.
The governor and the Island of Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau have been issuing press releases to reassure the public that they are open for business and safe for vacationing families as reservations get cancelled and people rethink their plans.
Shayla Northcutt of Northcutt Travel Agency in the Heights says she hasn’t seen an impact from all the turmoil. “I actually have several people that have just come back from Hawaii, and some that are leaving for Hawaii soon. It’s not affecting their travel at all,” she tells NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Expedia reports that fewer flights are being booked from West Coast cities, down about 35% since the eruption relative to the two weeks before. However, compared to this time last year, searches are up 20%. Travelzoo finds searches down 21%, but most especially for Kona on the Big Island. The island of Kauai is seeing a 21% surge in the number of searches. They are getting 31% of all searches.
There is an advantage to having other islands not impacted by the activity of Kilauea. “Oahu is very far away from it, there are great things to do in Honolulu. And there are great things to do in Maui,” suggests Northcutt.
Once again in the past week Hawaii Governor Davis Ige has issued a plea to tourists to come by for a visit this summer, stressing that “it’s safe.”