Due to devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, travel agencies are getting calls from tourists who were scheduled to travel to Hawaii and are now unsure about what they should do.
While people are still traveling to parts of Hawaii that are not affected by the fires right now, things could change, according to Damian McCabe, the CEO of the travel agency McCabe World Travel in McLean, Virginia.
“We’ve had people checking in with us to see if their bookings are okay or if they should reschedule,” McCabe said.
Those who were planning on going to Maui in the coming weeks should work on immediately canceling their trip entirely or rescheduling for a later date, according to McCabe.
“Most of the airlines are giving full waivers for refunds,” she said.
For those who had plans to go to Maui later in the fall or in the winter season, she said, it’s too early to tell what the situation is going to look like.
“We have a lot of Christmas bookings and holiday bookings this year to Hawaii, and we’re asking them to give us a week or so to see how things settle,” McCabe said. “We do have clients who are in Hawaii right now, but not in the areas that are most affected.”
McCabe said those who were scheduled to go to a Hawaiian island that is not Maui may be able to, but she’s asking them “to be patient until we know more” before giving firm answers to their questions.
All travelers are encouraged to monitor their flight status online or through their airline’s app before leaving for the airport.
On Thursday, the search of wildfire wreckage on Maui revealed a wasteland of burned homes and obliterated communities as firefighters battled the stubborn blaze that has already claimed 36 lives. It has become the country’s deadliest wildfire in five years.
Aerial footage showed whole sections of the historic town of Lahaina reduced to gray ash, including Front Street, where tourists shopped and dined just days ago.
Homes and shops were stripped to their frames or less, boats in the harbor were scorched and smoke hovered over the leafless skeletons of charred trees.
“It’s a terrible situation,” McCabe said. “My heart goes out to everybody who lives and works on Maui.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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