West Maui Reopening With Harsh Prospects, 3% Occupancy

West Maui Reopening with Grim Prospect of Visitors

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association just asked hotels for their projected occupancy over the next six weeks. As the industry group said, “the numbers are Covid-low” on West Maui.

“In West Maui, where Lahaina is, it’s in the three to four percent range next week. It climbs higher every week as we move closer to Thanksgiving and the very busy holiday season. But it only ever hits the mid-30s, with a high of 35.5%.” That is according to MHLA Exec. Director Lisa Paulson.

The reason for the hotel organization releasing this information is to encourage the state to continue to move forward with the reopening of all of West Maui on October 8, less than a week from now.

Maui and statewide tourism numbers have tanked.

Even with with first part of August data predating the fire, visitors statewide dropped precipitously, in part due to terrible messaging from the state requesting visitors to leave Maui. That was exacerbated by global news media, which portrayed Hawaii as having burned down. We know that from questions we were repeatedly asked while traveling in Europe this summer.

And while some modest visitor increases were seen on other islands following the fire, it in no way made up for the losses on Maui.

State reports Maui visitor arrivals and spending worst since Covid.

On Maui, August numbers sank, with spending down by half and visitor count down by even more. Hawaii Tourism Director Jimmy Tokioka said last week that just “112,259 visitors arrived on Maui in August 2023, the lowest count since February 2021. Visitor spending of $246.7 million on Maui was the lowest since March 2021.”

This followed last week’s news that October 8 will only be the first phase of reopening.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen confirmed last week, as anticipated, that West Maui will, by necessity, open in phases. While not unexpected, this prospect was never revealed when Hawaii’s governor, Josh Green, announced the October 8 date, leading to the misunderstanding about West Maui’s reopening plans.

On October 8, the only properties opening in Phase One are in the northmost area of West Maui. That includes the Ritz-Carlton, and Maui Kapalua to Kahana Villa. The other two phases, which you can see in our recent Maui update, are not scheduled until an assessment is done following the phase before. And here is the reason why below:

Maui displaced resident housing vs. visitor accommodations.

There is an ongoing need to provide housing for the eight thousand living in temporary shelters at many hotel properties. The phased approach is intended to mitigate issues of visitors returning and residents having a place to live. Longer-term solutions to the lack of housing on Maui are yet to be addressed.

There’s going to be a lot more information forthcoming shortly. So stand by. Please let us know your thoughts.

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62 thoughts on “West Maui Reopening with Grim Prospect of Visitors”

  1. This is the beginning if business owners discovering that regulation and delays will not make it feasible to start over in Lahaina.

  2. We are traveling to Maui at the end of February 2024. With the epicenter of the fires being Lahaina, was West Maui (northern area) untouched and is/will it be operating as normal? We’d like to stay in that area but no one on the mainland knows what condition it’s in!

    1. Most of the West Maui resorts are in the Kaanapali area and those were not touched by the fire. From Kaanapali up through Kapalua is essentially open. Choose your hotel or condo and call them directly to confirm their availability. Many of the hotels and condos have been used to house those who lost their homes in the fire and they may not have a full complement of rooms available.

  3. Maybe those that need visitor dollars to survive should have a talk with those who don’t need the dollars right now, and let them know how much their published words are hurting their fellow neighbors.

  4. People forget that we have to pay for all of this. Only US. Insurance is just a financing tool. Same with any government programs. The only source of money is you. Building costs, property insurance will all go way up. Cost of living will rise significantly. Let’s be realistic. This is a 3 to 6 year recovery for Lahaina infrastructure minimum. The hospitality industry will have to be then be rebuilt with new workers. Maui may recover in 3 years, but its more like 7 to 10 for Lahaina. There has always been a love/hate relationship with tourists. This tragedy forces us all to be more honest with one another and ask, “What do we want this to look like”? Then we can see if the marketplace buys in to that vision.

  5. We own two timeshares in Kaanapali. We keep getting mixed signals about visiting. Emails have been sent telling tourists to refrain from having too much fun around grieving staff. One even said be prepared you may not feel as welcome as in the past. We all feel for the residents who suffered this horrific event, but if they want to recover and move forward they need tourist dollars. Making us feel guilty for going there won’t help them.

    1. I had friends who went there in October up above where the fires were they were told to keep there arrangements please so the did everyone was nice , I am going in may even at the high prices hope it helps out the city😻

  6. I just read a short news article on the ‘net (take that with a grain of salt) that said that individual Owners of some condo units have been told that any fire victims that are currently occupying their units must leave soon. Can anyone confirm that? It seems to me that if I Own my unit at “Resort Didn’t Burn” and want to let the Red Cross or FEMA pay for someone to stay there, that should be my business. Since I never owned a condo, I have no idea.

  7. There shouldn’t be any type of visitors. Maui needs to heal. The residents Need assistance in various ways. You have realtors trying to sell property, Hotels trying to bring in business. All the resources prior were not going to the native residents. They didnt earn enough to support their families and had to work very hard.. Truthfully, Hawaii should never have been forced into colonization. They have been stripped of their beautiful culture and Homeland. Tourists and greedy investors need to give back to Hawaiians not continue to take. Many are still homeless


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