HONOLULU, Hawaii – The safety of residents and visitors is always the tourism industry’s top priority, commented George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, adding that travelers with a trip already booked to the Hawaiian Islands or in the planning stages can be put at ease knowing their vacation experience will be unaffected.
This is in response to increased volcanic activity and a new flow of lava that began yesterday from Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii also known as the Big Island. State and county government agencies are keeping residents safe, while assuring travelers the impact is limited to a remote region on the east side far away from the rest of the Hawaiian Islands.
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Hawaii Governor David Ige stated, “We are allocating all necessary state resources to keep our residents safe in this rural area on the island of Hawaii where the volcanic activity is occurring. We have heard from people around the world concerned about Hawaii’s welfare and want to reassure everyone that this is limited to a remote region on the slopes of Kilauea volcano. Everywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands is not affected.”
“No flights into airports anywhere in Hawaii are being impacted by Kilauea volcano and the area where the lava is coming to the surface is very far from resort areas throughout the Hawaiian Islands where visitor accommodations are located,” said HTA’s Chief.
“Travelers can enjoy their vacation experience in the Hawaiian Islands to the fullest, with the only word of caution being that they stay out of areas closed to the public for their own safety.”
The closest resort areas, in Kona and the Kohala Coast on the island of Hawaii’s west side, are more than 100 miles away from where the lava flow is occurring and shielded by the massive mountains of Maunakea and Maunaloa. Resort areas located on Oahu and Kauai, and in Maui County, are located hundreds of miles from Kilauea volcano.
Kilauea has been an active volcano since 1983 and is one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions, with residents and visitors drawn to the wonder of seeing nature at work in the creation of new land via helicopter and ground tours or visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Due to this week’s increase in volcanic activity, there is a no-fly zone over Kilauea and 15,668 acres in the eastern region of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are closed until further notice. The remainder of the park’s 333,308 acres, which is accessible via the main entrance from Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) leading to the Kilauea Visitor Center, remains open at this time. Visitors entering the park from this entrance can view lava activity and the glow from Halemaumau Crater.
As this situation continues to evolve, for the latest updates on the volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii, please check the following websites:
Travelers planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands who have questions can contact the Hawaii Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GOHAWAII (1-800-464-2924).