Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will resume port calls in the Big Isle — a move state officials said will be a a major linchpin in shoring up tourism losses for the hard-hit island.
Ford Fuchigami, Gov. David Ige’s administrative director, said NCL notified him today that Pride of America would resume its regular schedule starting next week. The cruise line had not been visiting Hawaii island since its May 14 announcement that it planned to modify Pride of America’s itinerary to eliminate Hilo and Kona calls due to “adverse conditions impacting the Big Island of Hawaii.”
“The Governor and I were in Hilo today when we got the news that they planned to resume calls,” Fuchigami said. “We’re very excited that they are coming back. The Governor had asked me to make their return one of our top priorities. We’ve been working to ensure that they knew about other attractions outside of the volcano that were open to them and that they had the latest information to monitor air quality and other conditions.”
Fuchigami said NCL’s decision to return to Hawaii island hopefully will build confidence among other tourism companies and travelers that are considering visiting.
“We want visitors to know that air quality is good and that everything in Kona is open and doing well,” he said. “We also want people to realize that Hilo still has plenty of attractions to offer.”
Toni Marie Davis, executive director of the Activities & Attractions Association of Hawaii (A3H), previously said that NCL’s departure was a major blow to Hawaii island’s visitor industry, especially for her Kona and Hilo members who rely heavily on cruise ship stops.
Micah Alameda, who helps run a Big Isle bed-and-breakfast home called Noelani of Waipio, said cruise cancellations have been a major Hawaii island concern.
“I’ve heard we lose up to $175,000 a day every time a cruise ship cancels,” said Alameda, who July 1 begins a term as a Hawaii Tourism Authority board member. “You know that has to have a major impact.”