Hotels and resorts in West Maui have temporarily stopped booking future reservations while they help house displaced residents and aid in recovery from last week’s devastating wildfires, according to the latest update from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green has issued an emergency proclamation strongly discouraging all non-essential travel to West Maui through the month of August. The HTA also urges that travelers do not attempt contacting West Maui hotels about reservations, as many are still without power, municipal water, and phone service and are focused on recovery efforts.
“The travel industry must be focused on the recovery of residents who lost loved ones, homes, their belongings, and businesses,” the HTA wrote. “At this time, hotels are housing their employees and families, evacuees, and first responders working on disaster recovery – well over 1,000 people so far with more to come.”
Those with travel plans to other parts of Maui should contact their hotel to ensure they can still be accommodated. Travel to the other Hawaiian Islands has not been impacted.
The Hawaiian government launched the Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program, where any vacation rental operators or property owners in the state can offer housing to evacuees who are temporarily displaced.
Lahaina properties in ruins
Wildfires spread in western Maui on August 8, destroying the historic town of Lahaina and leaving at least 99 people dead, according to the latest reports. Most of the area is currently off limits as crews continue to survey the rubble, which experts have warned could contain hazardous materials.
“The devastation in Lahaina is immense and unprecedented,” the HTA wrote. “The extent of the damage affecting residents, families and area businesses has yet to be fully understood.”
A spokesperson for the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association told Travel Market Report that the organization has lost at least two properties but does not have the full status of the destruction yet.
A few hotels operators have confirmed that their properties have been destroyed, including Outrigger, which owns The Plantation Inn.
“We are heartbroken to share that reports indicate The Plantation Inn has been irreparably damaged as a result of the devastating wildfires in historic Lahaina Town,” the hotel company posted on its website. ”This charming 18-room bed and breakfast was a beloved retreat for the last 35 years.”
Outrigger noted that guests who had reservations at The Plantation Inn are being relocated to its properties across the Hawaiian Islands, such as its Outrigger Ka'anapali Beach Resort, which was unaffected by the fires. The hotel’s call center is available to assist with reservation changes.
Best Western’s historic Pioneer Inn was also ruined in the fires.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of the Best Western Pioneer Inn, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii," Best Western said in a statement. "All hotel guests and staff were safely evacuated. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to emergency personnel for their exceptional support. Our hearts are with our guests, associates, and the entire Hawaii community during this time of immense challenge."
Cruise line updates
Through the month of August, Norwegian Cruise Line will be forgoing its calls to Maui.
"We are deeply saddened to hear about the wildfires impacting the town of Lahaina in Maui,” the cruise line said in a statement. “To avoid stressing the local resources, we have replaced our call to Maui with an overnight call to Hilo, Hawaii.”
Emerald Princess' Maui stop, which had been scheduled for Lahaina on Aug. 14, was also canceled.
"Given the severity of these fires and their significant strain on local resources, Emerald Princess will cancel her scheduled call to Maui (Lahaina) on Monday, August 14, and will instead call to Kona," a spokesperson for the line said. "As we continue to monitor the situation, we are actively reviewing the itineraries of our upcoming voyages. If any adjustments need to be made to our published itineraries, we will advise guests and our Travel Advisor partners."