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Coastline along Wailea Beach Path near Polo Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii
Photograph: Shutterstock

Select parts of Maui are welcoming respectful visitors

While West Maui still struggles, Maui Ocean Center is open to visitors and assisting with recovery

Written by
Gerrish Lopez

As the town of Lahaina and the whole of West Maui continue to assess and recover from damage following the devastating wildfires, businesses across the rest of the island that depend on tourism—including Maui Ocean Center—welcome the return of visitors to the island.

Maui Ocean Center, which aims to foster wonder and respect for Hawaii's marine life, closed briefly to assist those impacted by the fires. The Center has reopened to residents and visitors while also contributing to recovery efforts by raising funds, collecting donations and offering wellness services to those impacted by the fires. 

While the town of Lāhainā remains out of bounds and West Maui recovers, the focus shifts to maintaining the Maui economy as a whole. Properties in Napali, Kaanapali, and Kapalua just to the North are helping with housing for the displaced and will be able to hire back the residents of Maui. Leadership at the Center joins the Hawaii Governor in welcoming the return of thoughtful, respectful travel to the rest of the island, which is safe and open.

Maui ocean center
Photograph: Courtesy Maui Ocean Center

"Mahalo for everyone's support, actions and donations to those who suffered so much here on Maui," said Tapani Vuori, general manager of Maui Ocean Center. "As we focus on the displaced, we are now also looking at the broader Maui community. An employed Maui is a resilient Maui. Many of our local businesses depend on the visitor community, and as that dwindles, the hardships on our island multiply. We need the resources to manage the long-term efforts it will take to restore our island community."

For those who wish to support the island financially, Maui Ocean Center encourages donations to the Hawaii Community Foundation's Maui Strong Fund. Visitors to the Ocean Center are also encouraged to round up their entrance and in-park purchases to help support efforts.

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