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Almost three aweeks after the eruption of the K?lauea vulcano on the Isle of Hawaii, it is still not clear how the consequences will affect the usual summerseason. Iceland of Hawaii Visitors Bureau CEO Ross Birch says the six largest islands in Hawaii have seen some cancellation of group itineraries.
Prospective attendees fear that poisonous gas will be ejected from the vulcano, he says. Travellers show fear, even though the outburst of the volcan is in a small part of the isle, which is far from where most of the people are. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most visited travel spots on the islands, and most of it is now shut down due to the spitting gas and cava.
According to the National Park Service, the closing costs the entire country 166 million dollars in revenues. Norwaygian Cruise Lines and Royale Caribbean have called off bus and tram services to Hilo, the harbour on the Hawaiian Isle. Expedia.com says that since the outbreak on May 3, 2009, there has been a 35% drop in traffic from San Francisco and Seattle to Kona on the western shore of Hawaii inland.
But from May 3 to May 20 until the same date last year, the search queries increased by 20 per cent. The search for the state of Hawaii is declining year after year. The search for Hawaii Island has decreased by 11 per cent according to Travelzoo. The number of search queries for Hilo on Hawaii Island has fallen by 27 per cent.
The number of raids for the whole state has decreased by 21 per cent. Kauai is the only rising point, with a 21 per cent leap in search. However, Fareness.com, the study flight rates, says that in comparison to May last year, the search for Hawaii have risen 53 per cent. However, interest in Kona has dropped by 50 per cent year-on-year.
Others seem to benefit and Honolulu has seen a 55 per cent rise in reservation. Booking on Kauai is now 31 per cent of all transactions in the state. The Fairmont Hotels spokesperson said that there were no significant cancellation requests, but that the Fairmont Orchid on the Isle of Hawaii had been receiving them.
Reservations have slower in the middle of the year, she says, but the resort is expecting to recover after the end of the volcanoes. Meanwhile, this weekend the Hawaiian government's David Ige has appealed to Hawaii's tourism community to keep considering Hawaii as a tourist resort.