After rain and floods overwhelmed the island of Kauai during an unusually strong thunderstorm April 13-15, tourism is coming back.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) recently put out an update regarding conditions on the island and the ongoing recovery, noting Kauai is open for business, with progress being made to restore regions affected by the record rainfall and the floods that followed.
George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, noted that as relief efforts for Kauai’s north shore are continuing, the tourism industry has a vital role in the recovery process.
“Kauai, including most of Hanalei on the north shore, is open for business and ready to share the charms and beauty of this idyllic, unforgettable island with visitors from around the world,” said Szigeti.
He also encouraged visitors to travel to Hanalei.
“Before the thunderstorm, Hanalei was bustling with business because of tourism. Since then, visitors have been staying away from Hanalei, which is hurting businesses and putting at risk the jobs they provide to residents,” said Szigeti. “Visitors can help with the north shore’s recovery by patronizing Hanalei’s restaurants, retail shops, specialty stores and activities that support the livelihoods of so many area residents.”
However, he cautioned travelers to avoid interfering with recovery efforts.
“We also ask visitors to be respectful and avoid going into neighborhoods where recovery efforts are ongoing, and to not go beyond Waioli Huiia Church in Hanalei or try to enter the closed section of Kuhio Highway until State and County officials reopen it to all vehicle traffic,” Szigeti said.
Crews have been working around the clock since the thunderstorm to restore infrastructure and return evacuated residents to their homes. Donations have been pouring in from the other Hawaiian Islands. Residents have been assisting with the recovery and people on other islands have given food, clothing, supplies, and funds.
“It’s been inspiring to see so many individuals and companies from around the state come forward with donations and volunteer their time to help those in need,” said Szigeti. “I believe what we will remember most from this disaster are the extraordinary efforts to help rebuild these communities and assist our fellow residents. Everyone has come together, unified with a single purpose to do what’s best for the greater good of all and that’s the way it should always be.”
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