With news of wildfires on Maui shooing away swathes of hopeful vacationers and other travelers, local businesses still in operation are feeling a different kind of burn.
David Morales, manager of the musical instrument shop Mele Ukulele, says that “the tourist dollars are so vital that, without them, half of this town will be shut down by the end of the month.” This has led many to making drastic choices in order to continue to make ends meet, like hairdresser Dani Epolite:
“I’ve decided to actually go back to California and work for about two weeks just to take some clients out there to make up for some lost income.”
Yet, given the great loss and deep pain people have endured because of the fires, encouraging tourism’s return remains a sensitive topic for many on and off of Maui. The owner of Maui Hands, an art gallery and crafts shop, Panna Speas Capelli, acknowledges the complexity of the situation:
“It’s not easy for anybody, and I do understand people saying, ‘Look, leave us alone for a while, we need to heal,’ and that is also true. But if people don’t walk in that door, we can’t pass that money on.”
Watch the video* for more, including business owners tips for traveling sensitively, how they are pivoting to help, and how you can, too.
Plus, make a contribution to our fundraiser**, donate.tzuchi.us/mauirelief.
*Also featuring Ashley Solberg (Owner at Lokelani), Colie Lennox (Photographer & Makeup Artist), Chris Ishizaka & Doug Bowser (Hawaii Tours), and Zane Schweitzer (Professional Waterman).
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