David Collier, who has been guiding trips on the island for a decade, clutched the wheel of a 13-person van last week on the road up to Mauna Kea observatory. Up until Kilauea began erupting this month, his full-time job was taking visitors on three separate volcano-related tours. Now, with Hawaii Volcanoes national park closed and the district of Puna inundated with lava, two of those three tours are cancelled until further notice.
“As of this morning, the road where I’ve been conducting tours for a decade is no longer there,” he said. “Things are changing.”
Hawaii island’s $2.4bn tourism industry is struggling in the wake of the Kilauea Volcano eruptions, with bookings for May through July down 50%, according to the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau. Businesses on the island are doing their best to convince tourists that it’s still safe to visit.