Tourism officials battling misinformation surrounding Kilauea eruption

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The Hawaii Tourism Authority says it’s taking action to clear any misinformation about the Kilauea eruption.

The HTA says the hotel booking pace has slowed 50 percent for the Big Island since the latest eruption began.  

They’re hearing visitors are being scared off, afraid of getting hurt by the eruption.

“I’ve seen some article that have talked about this becoming a Mount St. Helens and that will never happen.  That’s not this type of volcano,” said Rick Fried HTA board of directors.

“The misinformation has people fearing if they do come to Hawaii, not just the Big Island but Hawaii, they are going to be impacted by the eruption and air quality,” Big Island Rep. Richard Onishi said.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has decided to focus on two target contributors to the Hawaii market, the United States and Japan.

HTA is setting aside $250,000 of emergency funding for its U.S. and Japan tourism programs.

“There are people that find this exciting and adventure, the lava, but a lot of people that are more conservative and that’s particularly true in the Japan market,” Fried said.

In a statement from Mufi Hannemann of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, he says, “Given how the Big Island is being portrayed through the media globally, it is no surprise that we are seeing a decrease in travel and hotel reservations.  We are seeing notable decreases in bookings for the third and fourth quarter to our hotels.”

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