HONOLULU (KHON2) — Businesses in the Big Island are anticipating a busy weekend from Oct. 2 to Oct. 3 with the thousands of visitors that are expected to arrive to get a glimpse of the Kilauea eruption.
The Kilauea Lodge General Manager Janet Coney said they are well on their way to no vacancy. They have a couple of rooms left for the weekend, but she does not expect those to remain available for long.
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Coney said, “The phone has been ringing non-stop and inquiring mostly for this weekend, but also, you know, further out.”
About six bookings came in overnight from Wednesday, Sept. 29, and the lodge’s restaurant is also seeing an influx of customers after a slower shoulder season for tourism.
“Our brunch today, which goes from 9 a.m. until 2 o’clock, was very busy,” Coney said. “It’s a little wet and misty out today, but it is still drawing people to come up and see what’s happening.”
A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines said they are seeing a slight uptick in travelers to Hilo, but it is uncertain if that demand is being driven by Kilauea’s activity. Meanwhile, Mokulele Airlines Chief of Staff Keith Sisson said they are looking forward to a strong travel weekend.
“We absolutely expect to see an increase over the weekend,” Sisson said. “This is the first year that Mokulele has operated flights into Hilo, so we know that is going to have a positive impact as well.”
The Hawaii County Chamber of Commerce Executive Officer Miles Yoshioka said ever since the governor asked travelers not to visit Hawaii for non-essential purposes, Volcano Village has seen fewer tourists.
However, it appears that mother nature could turn that around.
Yoshioka said, “In general, things are a lot quieter, so I’m sure with the thousands of visitors the park is expecting each day, things are happening up there.”
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Experts said those who are planning on visiting the Big Island should plan ahead and make arrangements as soon as possible.