Teresa Cosgrave, sales manager for The Island of Hawai’i says even that island is largely unaffected by the lava flows and activity in the southern tip. ‘The Hawai’i Volcanos National Park itself is closed and that is because of earthquakes in the area and the need to check buildings and other restructures for safety. But in the rest of the island it is business as usual, both the airports are open and the volcano is 160 kilometres from the main resort areas.’ She says the volcano has been erupting for some 35 years and the latest activity tends to be a source of curiosity for many locals.
‘Of course the main priority is that the people who live around there are safe, but for tourists there is very little effect at this stage and we obviously are keeping a close eye on the situation and providing updates regularly Karishma Chown, director travel industry sales of O’ahu Visitors Bureau, says the opportunity to talk to agents last night and this morning was timely. ‘We need to be able to challenge the information flow.’ Auckland based Darragh Walshe, of Hawai’i Tourism Oceania, says ‘potentially one or two Kiwis may think there is lava flowing down the streets of Waikiki. ‘So this is an opportunity for us to reiterate the diverse nature of the neighbouring islands and continue to promote them as six unique and different destinations.