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West Maui To Reopen to Visitors on October 8 [Latest Update]

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Ashley Onadele
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Ashley Onadele

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Countries Visited: 15U.S. States Visited: 10

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerou...
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Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...

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After devastating wildfires that displaced 7,000 people, West Maui will reopen to visitors on October 8, 2023. The news comes soon after the Hawaii Tourism Authority announced efforts to encourage visitors to the other parts of the island.

Here’s the latest on the Maui wildfires and the island’s reopening.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Encourages Visitors

The island of Maui saw a 70% decrease in visitors after the wildfires began on August 8, 2023. Governor Josh Green and the Hawaii Tourism Authority encouraged visitors to return to Maui earlier this month, though the town of Lahaina and the West Maui region remained closed. Even though airlines offered discounted flights and hotels cut room rates by 20%, tourists have been slow to return.

That should change on October 8, when the West Maui neighborhoods of Kā’anapali, Nāpili, Honokōwai, and Kapalua will all reopen to visitors.

Maui Beach
Wet Maui will reopen to visitors on October 8. Lahaina will remain closed to the public. Image Credit: Bettina Nørgaard via Pixabay

Some Maui residents think it’s still too soon to welcome tourists back to the area. However, the governor and other state officials believe that hotels and resorts in the area will be forced to lay off 3,000 unionized workers if they aren’t able to reopen soon. Residents are understandably concerned about the thousands of displaced people who have been sheltering in West Maui hotels.

Director of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism James Tokioka explained that without employment, those workers would lose their health insurance. He went on to say that hotel owners simply cannot afford to lose as much money as they’ve been losing each week.

Despite the reopening of several areas of West Maui, Lahaina, the town most devastated by the recent wildfires, will continue to remain closed to the public.

Amended Water Advisory

Experts continue to caution that the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history has left hazardous material among the debris. Maui has amended its unsafe water advisory to remove Zone 1 and move it to the green or safe zone. The advisory that was issued on August 11, 2023, remains in effect for zones 4 and 5.

For those wishing to help, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority asks that monetary donations be made to the Maui Strong Fund created by the Hawai’i Community Foundation.

Hot Tip:

If you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines, a travel waiver is in place to reschedule any flights you may have at no additional cost. Or, you can cancel your flight and use the value as credit towards a new ticket or a refund. American, Delta, Southwest, and United have similarly accommodating policies.

Final Thoughts

Maui has experienced unprecedented wildfires that have destroyed homes and businesses and displaced thousands of residents. After weeks of rescue and recovery efforts, and despite some residents saying that it’s still too soon, West Maui will reopen to visitors on October 8, 2023, though Lahaina will remain closed to the public. If you’re able, please consider donating to the Maui Strong Fund.

Ashley Onadele's image

About Ashley Onadele

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerous publications and podcasts.

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