It’s official. Hawaii is open for tourism business. The Aloha State is welcoming visitors and there is absolutely no reason for travelers planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands to change or alter their leisure or business travel plans.
This is a welcoming message for the Hawaii travel and tourism industry after earlier reports on the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii Island.
This is the statement just issued by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, a State Agency in charge of promoting the lucrative Hawaii visitors industry.
According to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority (HTA) All flights into the Hawaiian Islands are operating normally.
All accommodations, activities, and attractions throughout the Hawaiian Islands are operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii.
Remote Location on the island of Hawaii’s East Side: None of the Hawaiian Islands are affected by Kilauea volcano except a remote area along the Lower East Rift Zone on the island of Hawaii’s east side, Kilauea Summit and surrounding areas.
Kilauea Summit Activity: Steam and ash outbursts from Halemaumau crater are occurring in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (approximately 40 miles away from the Lower East Rift Zone) and being monitored. This is a natural occurrence as rocks fall into the crater and magma interacts with the groundwater (water table).
Air Quality: Air quality remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii is occurring can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide) and light ash fall may be present. Officials are continuing to monitor air quality.
A summary of what happened earlier including previous updates relevant to Hawaii Tourism:
- Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant.
- Those with breathing issues should take extra precaution to minimize exposure.
- Stay indoors and keep your windows closed.
- If you’re in car, keep your windows closed and drive with caution.
- All roads remain open.
- All airports in the Hawaiian Islands continue to operate normally.
- All accommodations, activities and attractions statewide are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the volcanic activity on Hawaii Island.
- Visitors who have already booked a trip to the island of Hawaii with accommodations or activities in/near the Puna district, should call their provider with any questions or concerns.
- Effective May 12, those who have vacation rental reservations in the Lower Puna restricted area should find alternative accommodations, until further notice.
- The volcanic activity and where lava has flowed along the East Rift Zone in/near Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions is limited to an isolated area in Lower Puna on the island of Hawaii’s east side. This area in the Puna district covers only less than a 10-square-mile area of the island’s 4,028 square miles. The district of Puna is approximately 500 square miles, or the size of half of Rhode Island.
- This is more than 100 driving miles away from the western Kohala and Kona Coasts, where the island’s major visitor accommodations and resorts are located, and the area furthest from the current activity.
- In addition, Hilo town is approximately 20 miles away, and accommodations and activities are unaffected by Kilauea volcano.
- Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, and has been erupting for the past 35 years.
- The topography of the island between east and west is unconducive for a natural flow.
- Effective May 12, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has directed all vacation rental owners and operators in Lower Puna to cease operations so that emergency operations can focus on residents who live in the area.
- The Lower Puna restricted area encompasses the area accessed by Highway 132 from Leilani Estates to Kapoho, Highway 137 from Kapoho to Kalapana, and Highway 130 from Pahoa to Pohoiki, including Pahoa’s Black Sands Beach Subdivision.
- Current vacation renters in this restricted area should find alternative accommodations outside the restricted area as soon as possible.
- Until further notice, visitors who have vacation rental reservations in the restricted area should find alternative accommodations.
- This directive has been issued to owners and operators of vacation rentals within the restricted area, online advertisers of vacation rentals, current vacation renters in the area, and vacation renters with reservations.
- News reports about acid rain during the Kilauea eruption have mischaracterized the severity of its potential effect on human health. In fact, acid rain is a common occurrence anytime there is rainfall on an area where volcanic haze, or VOG, is in the atmosphere, whether on the island of Hawaii or anywhere else in the world.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in a lake affected by acid rain, is no more dangerous to humans than walking in normal rain or swimming in non-acidic lakes.”
- Data about the composition of rain falling on the island of Hawaii is closely monitored on a continual basis by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network.
- Visit the State Department of Health’s Hawaii Interagency Vog Information Dashboard for the latest information at www.ivhhn.org/vog/.
- Road closures are taking place on select areas of Highway 130, 132 and 137.
- No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens.
- Residents and visitors who do not have official business in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are asked to stay away from the area.
- As a precaution, residents of Lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana are advised to be on alert in the event of possible volcanic activity in the area.
- Temporary flight restrictions are in place for most of Lower Puna. Drones will be confiscated in this area.
- Those who have rented accommodations or made tour reservations in the general area should check with those respective companies for the latest updates.
- Unless otherwise noted, area businesses are open and accessible. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and be prepared for increased traffic.
- Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has closed Lava Tree State Monument and Mackenzie State Recreation Area until further notice.
- All beach parks in Lower Puna have been closed, including the Pohoiki Boat Ramp.
- The County of Hawaii has closed the Kalapana Viewing Area until further notice.