My Vacation Lady has stayed quiet about this since the wildfires broke out in Maui on August 8, 2023. We didn’t want to voice our opinion on whether our clients should change their plans to Maui and the Hawaiian Islands until we had more information.
We tend to wait a bit until the facts are more clear and offer our clients options and to help them make wise decisions. Let’s keep in mind that the wildfires that destroyed Lahaina also destroyed homes, families, businesses also caused the loss of life, making it the deadliest of wildfires in modern US history. It destroyed years of history, culture and so much more to the Kānaka Maoli- the Hawaiian natives, as well as the residents and those who loved and visited Maui.
What these fires haven’t destroyed is the Aloha Spirit which will always remain strong.
The topic of tourism and over tourism in Hawaii has been talked about for years but the thing to remember is that Hawaii is beloved by many tourists who visit time and time again. It is also the home to descendants of the original Polynesian settlers and they have centuries of history behind their culture.
So now, the tragedy of the destruction of Lahaina, brings up questions of whether you should vacation in Maui or even the other Hawaiian Islands.
This is the opinion of My Vacation Lady, a travel advisor, and not necessarily what you should do. I am only trying to give you a better picture of what you can do which may enable you to make your own decision.
According to the press release from the Hawaii Tourism Authority from yesterday, Aug 13, 2023, Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future.
West Maui is only one part of the island of Maui- but it has the highest density of hotels and was one of the most sought out areas for tourists.
From the highlighted area on the left, you can see West Maui. You can see the town of Lahaina which was devastated by the fires and above Lahaina are the resort areas of Ka’anapali and Kapalua.
The town of Lahaina was devastated but the wildfires did not effect the areas of Ka’anapali or Kapaula. While power may not be fully restored, the hotels were not damaged and most will be accepting guests by the end of August and taking new reservations for mid September and on.
If you have vacations booked for West Maui prior to mid October (2 months from now), I would probably recommend switching to a hotel in Wailea or another island. Let the government and aid agencies get in there to help the displaced residents, get the shelves stocked with provisions and do some work that needs to be done to let the people of Maui begin the healing process.
If you have reservations in Wailea, from mid September on, I would keep it. Wailea resorts are open for guests. The restaurants and shops are in huge need of business. Those restaurants and shops use money brought in to help their Ohana (family) to purchase food and clothing and find new places to live.
If you have reservations in Maui, from mid October on, go. Enjoy the resorts, the restaurants and the shops in the area and visit the rest of the beautiful island. There is still so much to see and do in Maui that doesn’t involved being in the town of Lahaina. Be kind and patient with the people you will meet. Realize that they have lived and are likely still living through Hell.
Will you have the exact same experience as before the wildfires? NO
Can you still have a fabulous vacation or honeymoon in Maui– YES
Will all of the activities and excursions you planned still be available? That’s a question that will take more time to figure out. Many of the excursion companies operated out of Lahaina but we are hopeful that they may still be able to offer excursions in the near future.
Be Flexible. Be Kind. Be Patient. Donate to Maui aid organizations. If you had reservations for excursions or activities, consider not demanding your money back. Let those businesses use the funds to help their employees.
Don’t give up on Maui! #mauistrong!
The Hawaiian Islands are a treasure and they will need our tourism support. If you want to avoid Maui at this time, that is your decision and your choice to make but please look at what the other islands can offer as well.
My Vacation Lady is there for our clients and will help them make the right decisions for them.
Here are some organizations that you can donate to if you are so inclined: