Hawaii Island Begs Airlines for Visitor Pause

Hawaii Island Begs Airlines for Visitor Pause

© Shutterstock

Hawaii Island Begs Airlines for Visitor Pause

Hawaii Island Begs Airlines for Visitor Pause

© Shutterstock

In May, 215,148 visitors came to the island compared to just 1,054 during the same month last year. Hawaii has had some of the nation’s strictest restrictions and currently, 60 per cent of Hawaiians are vaccinated. 

As people head to Maui after months of Covid restrictions, restaurants and hotels are severely understaffed. The main airport of Kahului is packed with an increasing number of visitors. “We don’t have the authority to say stop, but we are asking the powers that be to help us,” said Maui mayor Michael Victorino at a recent news conference, according to Associated Press.

Victorino asked airlines to limit seats to Maui but not everyone thinks curbing airline travel is the answer. Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Alex Da Silva said that the company is conscious of the pressure the rebound in arrivals has put on infrastructure, natural resources and communities. But he also stated the importance of visitors to the state’s economic recovery. City council member Yuki Lei Sugimura said residents still appreciate travellers. “The visitor — they are our number one economic driver. They create jobs. They’re very important to us.”

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