National News

Some guests are canceling bookings at Big Island hotels

Posted May 12, 2018 12:22 p.m. EDT

— After the first fissure opened in Leilani Estates on May 3, the phones at several Big Island hotels and vacation rentals rang.

Guests with reservations at places like Volcano Eco Cabin and Kilauea Lodge in Volcano are canceling.

"We're understanding. You know because even for us, I mean we don't know what's going to happen," Nani Diaz, Kilauea Lodge said.

With the possibility of an explosion, Volcanoes National Park temporarily shut down but many businesses nearby and across the island are still open.

"We're not affiliated with the park. It is a great boost for us but there are other things to do on the Hilo side of the island," Diaz said.

"The rest of the island is open for business," George Szigeti, president and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority said.

Szigeti says reports are circulating that all islands, even the state is affected by the activity. He says that's not true and encourages visitors to keep their travel reservations.

He adds it's too early to know if the lava or flooding will negatively impact Hawaii's income from tourists.

Tourism authority officials and vacation rental owners are wondering what will tourism be like once the volcano activity is over.

"Prior to that, we're like so packed," Diaz said.

Szigeti says visitors who are thinking about heading to the Puna District to get a glimpse of the lava should stay clear.

"We want to make sure that visitors respect the residents out there and don't go in those areas while they restore their lives," Szigeti said.

A lot of affected areas are restricted to residents only.

HTA asks visitors should respect closures and warnings if they're traveling around.