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State appeals for Kauai visitors to return

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Austin DuFault, Amy DuFault, Eric Ortiz, and Allie DuFault walked near businesses today in Hanalei.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority wants visitors to know that Kauai is still open for business, and welcomes travelers to the Garden Isle, except for the northernmost communities from Wainiha to Haena, which are temporarily closed to vehicles while repairs continue on Kuhio Highway.

“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 George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, in a news release. “Travelers can book a trip to Kauai with confidence knowing they will enjoy a vacation experience that is uniquely appealing within all of Hawaii, while also supporting island businesses and residents who depend on a thriving tourism industry.

Szigeti said the tourism industry plays a vital role in the recovery process, and wants to send that message to travel trade professionals, industry partners and global travelers in the U.S. and around the world.

More than 28 inches of record-setting rainfall in a 24-hour period pummeled Kauai’s North Shore, resulting in flooding, and landslides blocking Kuhio Highway, creating extensive property damage. State and county emergency crews have been working round the clock on assistance and recovery efforts.

But the communities and businesses of Kauai who depend on tourism are now hurting from the lack of visitors.

“Before the thunderstorm, Hanalei was bustling with business because of tourism,” said Szigeti. “Since then, visitors have been staying away from Hanalei, which is hurting businesses and putting at risk the jobs they provide to residents. Visitors can help with the north shoreʻs recovery by patronizing Hanaleiʻs restaurants, retail shops, specialty stores and activities that support the livelihoods of so many area residents.”

Visitors are asked to avoid going into neighborhoods where recovery efforts are ongoing and to not drive beyond Waioli Huiia Church in Hanalei, nor enter the closed portion of Kuhio Highway.

Visitors planning a trip to Kauai can contact the Kauai Visitors Bureau Call Center at 1-800-262-1400 or visit the county website for the latest updates.

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