As rescue efforts continue in Kauai, how will tourism be affected by the storm?
It's hard to say. But travelers don't necessarily need to stay away.
Sue Kanoho, the executive director for the Kauai Visitors Bureau, says, "Right now our focus is really helping that area, making sure residents are fine, visitors are fine." But as for those with planned trips to The Garden Island, "We’re trying to make sure everyone understands which side of the island is challenged."
To be clear, it's the northernmost part of Kauai, specifically Haena and Wainiha, where The Federal Aviation Agency has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction.
According to the Kauai Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army and National Guard helped airlift more than 220 people from the Haena and Wainiha area on Tuesday, after heavy rains caused flooding and landslides over the weekend. There's plenty more work to be done, as part of Kauai's main road, Kuhio Highway, is still closed.
Kanoho says that the island's Weke Road "is no more" and Hanalei Pier is "no water; all sand." The popular Kalalau Trail tourist destination can't be hiked at the moment, among other closures. "Things are going to take a little while," she says. "I want to be up front with people."
As Hawaiian Airlines offers travel waivers to those who booked flights to Kauai, visitors with trips planned should contact the property manager or realtor of their vacation rental. But if travelers were intending to stay in the South, in Kapaa or Poipu, for example, they should be fine enjoy the sun and surf.
For more information, Kanoho recommends travelers look for updates on conditions on the Kauai tourist site, or call 800-262-1400.