Tips on how to visit Maui respectfully

Christine Hitt

As travelers make plans to return to Maui, the Hawaii Tourism Authority wants visitors to the island to travel with respect and compassion.

The issue is a fraught one on Maui, which is still recovering from wildfires that tore through Lahaina and closed areas of the island. Some travelers may be concerned about intruding or that restaurants or shops may not be open or staffed. Some residents have stated that they’re not ready for tourism activities or hospitality or are worried that they could be displaced from hotels where they’ve been staying since the fires (the government has said that won’t be the case). And meanwhile the island is losing up to $100 million per day in visitor spend, according to the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau.

But the island is proceeding with reopening to tourism: This month, all of West Maui, except for sections of Lahaina, have reopened.  

The organization is releasing messages on social media of video messaging for visitors pre- and post-arrival to encourage mindfulness.

“When you come, and visit my home, I ask that you be a mindful malihini (newcomer), mindful of the places you visit, the people you encounter,” Kumu Luana Kawaa said in one message. “When you come and you visit, find ways that you can give back.”

The messages complement HTA’s Malama Maui videos, describing how visitors can support the community when visiting the island.

Tips that can help Maui-bound travelers

HTA also partnered with the Governor’s Office and the County of Maui to produce signage and graphics on display for visitors to encourage responsible travel.

Some of these travel tips include:

— Don’t take photos of the destruction of Lahaina Town, even from afar.

— Don’t ask residents about their personal experiences with the fire.

— If you come upon a memorial service or gathering, don’t approach, leave the area.

— Rather than showing up unexpectedly at volunteer sites, which may not need more volunteers, visit for the latest info on available opportunities.

— Be patient when waiting for food or other services.

— Shop at local businesses.

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