Maui is Open, Lahaina is Closed.
August 16, 2023 1:30pm
The fires that took place in Lahaina last week have shaken us to our core. We’ve lost friends, family, homes, businesses and part of our identity in this catastrophe. 3.5 of our 735 square miles were essentially wiped off the map. That also means that 731.5 square miles are still in tact. And while we are scarred, Maui is still the most beautiful island in the world.
A lot of things came out directly after these fires. A lot of people were talking. A lot of important people. There was confusion. There was stress. There was anger. There was shock and disbelief. Quickly press releases came out halting all non-essential travel to Maui. It seemed like the right thing to do. At least until authorities got a handle on the situation.
What they didn’t count on was the in-pouring of support from EVERYONE. Neighbors came together to donate supplies, housing, clothes and food. Grass roots organizations popped up everywhere. Non profits showed up in mass. Locals gave in full.
Then another economic collapse began to take shape. The shutdown of Maui and the tourism that accounts for over 80% of our income was turned off. Uber drivers, cleaners, restaurant workers, hotel employees, tour operators, etc would all suffer. So, a few days ago the mayor and governor walked back their statements that Maui was closed to “West Maui is closed.” Today it appears even that is being rolled back to only include Lahaina town.
Our island needs to heal. That’s for sure, but in order to do so, we NEED tourism. We need jobs, and lots of them. There are so many families that lost their jobs here and are looking to rebuild. Kihei, Wailea, Kahului, Wailuku, Makawao, Paia, Kaupo, Hana, Haiku, Kaanapali, Napili, Kahana and Kapalua all were spared the destruction that happened in Lahaina. Maui is OPEN. Maui is waiting for you. If you want to help the people of Maui, come visit. Enjoy our local shops and restaurants, take a tour with a local based tour operator, buy art. Stay at an Airbnb. These contributions will help us rebuild.
Just, stay out of Lahaina, for now. Be compassionate and considerate of those who lost everything.
Within our community, there are numerous opportunities for volunteering that hold immense value. Through these organizations, you can immerse yourself in the island’s essence, forge connections with locals, and grasp the true meaning of ‘Aloha.’ Your presence during this pivotal time would be a beacon of hope to many.
If the calling to come to Maui tugs at your heartstrings anytime before December 15, a gesture of our aloha awaits – a $200 discount by using the coupon code: IMUA2023 when you reserve your accommodations here.
Mahalo for your kokua and for being here for us!