Q –  (8.20.23)We have been going to Hawaii, on and off, for the past eighteen years. Instead of a busy itinerary, we like to devote our time to one island per vacation, staying a week at the best hotel and a week at the best condo. We always do the condo first so we can be “served” the second week. Four years, ago we stayed on Lanai and absolutely loved the small-town vibe and the beauty. Now, we want to return but with all of the restoration work after the devastation that hit the Lahaina area, we are having second thoughts. We don’t want to be in the way but we must assume that tourism is going to be sorely missed. Any thoughts would be appreciated.   

A – We think your heart is in exactly the right place. Hawaii is still cleaning up and it will be for years in portions of Lahaina and Maui. But the islands will need the support of all of those who love the places and the people. We would encourage you to plan a vacation back to the islands just as soon as you can. Be prepared for some work crews to be using accommodations wherever you stay and dining options may be a bit limited. We think that waiting a month or two might be wise. But real travelers who have felt the Aloha spirit should, in our view, be planning a return to the islands to help spur the essential revival of the tourism economy. And please bring as many friends and family members as you can.

Just two weeks before the fires struck, we had a call from a very prominent Hawaii hotelier who wanted to discuss any clear reasons we could see why tourism to the islands had slowed down dramatically in terms of fall and winter bookings. Hawaii, as well as Mexico and the Caribbean, have all been impacted by a surge of American passport holders who, post-Covid were ready to head for points in Europe. 

So Hawaii has felt the power of a natural disaster coupled with a trending away from the North American continent. All of us have always seemed to take Hawaii for granted. But Paradise was always there and, for the most part, it still is populated by a people with fierce determination. We want to thank you for asking this question. For all of the exquisite moments we have spent on these magical islands – it is now payback time.