HAWAII ISLAND (KHON2) — A once in a lifetime opportunity, that’s how many view the eruption of Mauna Loa, and Big Island companies, especially those in the tourism industry are seeing a huge increase in business.
The magnificent glow illuminating the sky, and brilliant reddish orange lava, exploding out of Moku Aweoweo, slowly creeping down Mauna Loa. Thousands are flocking to the island to see Madame Pele in all her glory.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth said it’s really a great time to visit the Big Island.
“Our weather is perfect, our beaches are wonderful, and this is the only place in the world right now where you can sit on a beach, have a mai tai, look at a mountain with lava and another mountain with a snow-covered cap,” Roth said.
Paradise Helicopters, which offers a birds-eye view of the island and the eruption, said their demand has skyrocketed.
According to Cheneille Quiacusan, who works in reservations, it’s gone up 200%.
“Yeah, it’s a little insane,” Quiacusan said. “We’re basically bringing out every resource that we have while trying to keep our number one safety in mind.”
Quiacusan said they’re already booked a week out and have a wait list of more than 100 people deep. So they’ve brought in additional crews and helicopters from Oahu to help in Kona and Hilo.
“Prior to this, we were doing six (tours) we’re now doing probably 10,” Quiacusan explained. “But multiple aircraft are coming in and servicing both locations.”
Kailani Tours Hawaii, which offers ground tours of the volcano, has also gotten busier according to owner Chris Paterson.
“I would say probably an increase of about 20 to 25%,” Paterson explained.
“This has been a bonus, this is the cherry on top,” he said. “So while we never expected this to happen, or for it to be accessible to our guests, we found that a lot of them have been really surprised and excited about the opportunity to see not one but two eruptions. “
And he said they are being mindful of the impact the eruption is having on local communities.
That sentiment of being a considerate and respectful guest is also being shared by Ilihia Gionson, the Hawaii Tourism Authority Public Affairs Officer:
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
‘If there’s a no parking sign or park there, if there’s a no trespassing sign, don’t go there,” Gionson said. “They’re going to be a lot of people around any of the areas with good views of the eruption. So just be mindful, be careful. And be respectful. “