Big Island businesses set to profit from surge in visitors to Kilauea

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – Businesses on the Big Island are expecting a busy weekend October 2-3 with the thousands of visitors expected to arrive to get a glimpse of the Kilauea eruption.

Kilauea Lodge general manager Janet Coney said they were on the right track to ensure no vacancies were left. They have a few rooms left for the weekend, but she doesn’t expect them to stay available for long.

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Coney said, “The phone is ringing nonstop and asking mostly this weekend, but also, you know, further afield.”

About six reservations were made on the night of Wednesday, September 29, and the lodge restaurant is also seeing an influx of customers after a slower shoulder season for tourism.

“Our brunch today, which runs from 9 am to 2 am, was very busy,” Coney said. “It’s a little wet and foggy today, but it still attracts people to come and see what’s going on. “

A Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson said they see a slight increase in the number of travelers to Hilo, but it is unclear whether this request is driven by Kilauea’s activity. Meanwhile, Mokulele Airlines Chief of Staff Keith Sisson said they are looking forward to a solid travel weekend.

“We absolutely expect to see an increase over the weekend,” Sisson said. “This is the first year that Mokulele has operated flights to Hilo, so we know it will have a positive impact as well.”

Hawaii County Chamber of Commerce chief executive Miles Yoshioka said since the governor instructed travelers not to visit Hawaii for non-essential purposes, Volcano Village has seen fewer tourists.

However, it looks like Mother Nature could turn the tide.

Yoshioka said, “In general things are much quieter so I’m sure that with the thousands of visitors the park expects every day, there is something going on up there.”

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Experts said those planning to visit the Big Island should plan ahead and make arrangements as soon as possible.


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