MHLA's Maui Wildfire Response & Recovery

MHLA's Maui Wildfire Response & Recovery

In wake of the Maui Wildfires, on August 8th, MHLA immediately reported to Maui’s Emergency Operation Center as requested, engaged with partners to initiate evacuations, and produced daily communications to members including a dedicated webpage, multiple e-blasts, and social media efforts. Since this disaster, MHLA has helped collect industry data, connect resources, and secure property rooms for more than 7,000 displaced residents. The association and the visitor industry continue their efforts towards Maui’s healing and recovery as Maui’s visitor industry is experiencing a daily economic loss of nearly $13 million a day. Moving forward, MHLA will continue to work with Govrnor’s Office, Mayor’s Office and DBEDT in providing valuable data and assisting with communications to our membership and community.

Some of the stats below were presented at a recent Rotary Club meeting on September 18th, 2023:

  • As of August 31, the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) listed 834 businesses in the disaster area that were closed. Two historic hotels—the Plantation Inn (18 rooms) and the Best Western Pioneer Inn (34 rooms) were burned to the ground. In total, 16 visitor properties with 474 rooms were lost representing about 2% of the total island visitor plant inventory.
  • Maui Plant Inventory is 21,604 accommodation units total; currently close to 3,000 rooms occupied housing over 7,000 displaced residents
  • Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program
  • Recent survey of hotel staff shows that there are already 58% of staff on unemployment from the West side properties and 31% of the South Maui Properties
  • 35% of visitor income comes from Waikiki
  • 15% from West Maui
  • Estimate revenue loss per day, 13 million
  • Airlift has also been affected due to decreased demand: loss of 87 flights and 15,672 seats through November 18
  • The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) Board of Directors took decisive action today at its monthly board meeting to approve $2.6 million in funding to launch the Maui Marketing Recovery Plan, which is centered around a new Mālama Maui campaign and prioritizes rebuilding travel demand from the United States market to Maui in the wake of the devastating Lahaina wildfires.
  • “The campaign’s message will focus on thanking people for their outpouring of aloha and reiterate how they can continue to support Maui and its people by supporting local organizations assisting with disaster relief,” “It will also show gratitude to visitors who are continuing with their Maui vacations to support the economy, supporting local shops, local restaurants, and local activities which ultimately aids in the island’s overall recovery efforts.”
    The campaign’s heartfelt messages will be shared by kama‘āina (residents) of Maui through an integrated marketing effort that will leverage earned, digital and social media. The Mālama Maui campaign will also be amplified through existing partnerships with upcoming sporting events with HTA support like the PGA Tour, Maui Invitational, and the LA Clippers training camp and pre-season game against the Utah Jazz. Ongoing efforts to educate travel agents and meeting planners who are critical in educating their clients on mindful and respectful travel will also be enhanced by the campaign.
  • Volunteer opportunities shared on the Maui Travel Updates, including the map:
  • Hawaii State TAT is now at 10.25%, and in FY22 generated $830,056,000[1], with the majority going into the State General Fund.
  • The current Maui County surcharge at 3% was expected to generate $60,000,000 for FY24.
  • Maui County Visitor Plant generates $234,364,033, close to 50% of all RPT collected.

Beyond the data presented, MHLA has responded to multiple interview requests throughout the wildfire disaster period. Such media included in this briefing reflects conversations given from August 9th through September 2023.

For information on relief efforts that MHLA members have initiated, please see our dedicated webpage for Maui Strong.


Recently featured in 9.29.23 KITV 4: Maui hotel survey shows average of 3% occupancy in West Maui next week, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 9.28.23 KITV 4 News: Tourism numbers way down for Maui according to latest state data, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 9.28.23 KITV 4 News: Maui hotels want a say in Lahaina's reopening date, click here to read more.
Recently featured in Maui Chamber of Commerce: Business Matters 9.27.23, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 9.26.23 Civil Beat: A Major Power Outage In Lahaina The Day Of The Fire Likely Saved Lives, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 9.14.23 Hawaii’s Skift: Maui Tourism Faces ‘Long Recovery’ After Wildfires, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.30.23 Destination Maui Inc: Maui Fire Evacuation Updates, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.25.23 Travel Weekly: Come back to Maui, Hawaii urges, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.24.23 Civil Beat: California Woman Is The Only Tourist Confirmed Killed In Maui Wildfire So Far, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.23.23 Skift: Half of Maui’s Hotel Rooms Sit Empty as Tourism Recovery Won’t Be Quick, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.23.23 Maui Now: Maui Visitor Industry Hand Delivers Charity Walk checks to nonprofits, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.11.23 Travel Weekly: Maui wildfires destroy historical hotels, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.10.23 Star Advertiser: Disaster could be lasting setback for economy, click here to read more.
Recently featured in 8.10.23 BBC News "Hawaii fires: businesses evacuate staff and tourists", click here to read more.

The Debrief Update 8/11 with Scripps News & Lisa Paulson

August 11th, 2023

Scripps News with Lisa Paulson August 9th 2023

August 9th, 2023

KAOI Travel Talk Show: Maui Wildfire Impact on Tourism 8.16.23

September 27th, 2023

KAOI Travel Talk Show: Responsible Tourism after Wildfires 8.23.23

September 27th, 2023

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