All the hotels near the volcano park are booked until after Christmas and the roads are jammed with cars.
Volcanic eruptions suggest chaos, destruction, and something straight out of a dystopian movie. However, as Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on earth, is erupting is turning out to be a boon for the tourism industry. Thousand of people from all around the world are lining up to see this marvel of nature and the Hawaiian tourism industry is reaping the benefits, reports News Now Hawaii. All of the hotels in the nearest town of Hilo are booked, even the famous Dolphin Bay Hotel.
The spectacle of incandescent lava spewing from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa has drawn thousands of visitors and is turning into a tourism boon for this Big Island town near the world’s largest volcano.— KCAU 9 News (@kcautv) December 2, 2022
Read more about it here: https://t.co/CC0RGApKpv pic.twitter.com/keyMFoSzVC
The office manager of the hotel, Christine Ghiasi, spoke to the outlet and revealed that they are entirely booked up even in the middle of the week. She said, "People calling in last minute trying to see if there’s room mostly from the neighbor islands." Paradise Helicopters is fully booked until Christmas, according to Alexandra Durham, vice president of Sales and Marketing. In addition to that, they also had to pull in resources from their other bases at Turtle Bay Resort and Hilo.
Mauna Loa pic.twitter.com/xqM9kSLFLr— Grady Booch (@Grady_Booch) December 4, 2022
Marian Somalinog, the front desk staff at the Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel said that this influx of tourists is because people want to watch the rivers of molten rock gushing from the volcano, reports Associated Press. The glow from the molten lava can be viewed from several hotels in the area and hence, people are rushing in from the mainland USA and neighboring islands to witness it.
This time of year is often quiet for Hawaii's tourism business, as it falls between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. However, due to the volcanic eruptions, hotels are booked, people are lining up and roads are jammed with traffic. Volcanic flows may represent a future hazard to human settlements, but they are still many miles away and pose no harm to anyone. As a result, spectators may enjoy the show while putting themselves in minimal danger.
UPDATE: View from Saddle Road of lava from Mauna Loa volcano eruption as of 1:30 am — Hawaii County Civil Defense working to confirm if any lava has flowed outside the summit caldera (pics: @KITV4 viewer AJ Taaca) pic.twitter.com/dN5reiq4PW— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) November 28, 2022
However, as visitors from the mainland and other islands arrive, federal, local, and state officials have been busy planning for the possibility that the lava would reach the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. According to CNN, officials believe that there is a possibility that molten lava can close down a part of the highway that connects the east and west sides of the Big Island. Over the weekend, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency obtained a bird's-eye image of Mauna Loa, providing them with a baseline of where the danger lies.
Luke Meyers, administrator of HIEMA said, "It looks like it’s very close. We have to have respect for such a large hazard like Mauna Loa, but it’s also very important that we understand that our mission is to keep people in property out of harm’s way."
Mauna Loa erupting at sunrise is literally the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/YQdDfKHCMH— Paul (@pfranci2) November 28, 2022
On November 27, Mauna Loa began erupting, joining neighboring Kilauea, which has been erupting since the previous year. Both volcanoes are located within Hawai Volcanoes National Park, which is still open and encouraging visitors to watch the twin eruptions safely. The park wrote in a Facebook post, "Stepping into week two of the Mauna Loa eruption. Two volcanoes, two eruptions, one park. It was another 'glowrious' morning today!"