July 8, 2021, 10:39 AM HST
The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is advising visitors to East Maui to join a tour from a permitted tour company instead of driving on their own along the Hāna Highway or visiting other areas on Maui. The suggestion is the latest recommendation made by visitor industry officials amid an increase in tourism, illegal parking along the scenic route, and unsafe pedestrian crossing along the highway.
“We take seriously, the concerns brought forth by the residents of Hāna and East Maui surrounding the impact of visitors in their community, especially along this main thoroughfare for which they rely on, and are committed to addressing them through viable solutions,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority in a press release update.
HTA, in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, encourages visitors to experience the road to Hāna through a permitted tour led by professional guides. HTA has posted a list of tour operators with excursions to Hāna, including the following:
- Akina Tours & Transportation
- Aliʻi Nui Sailing Charters
- Experiencing the Road to Hāna…and Beyond!
- Haleakalā EcoTours
- Hike Maui
- Jungle Tours Maui
- Local Maui Tours
- Maui Dive Shop
- Polynesian Adventure Tours
- Rappel Maui
- Stardust Hawaiʻi
- Temptation Tours, Inc.
- Unique Maui Tours
- Valley Isle Excursions
In March, the HTA published its Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan, in which a number of the hotspot areas and sites listed are either located in Hāna or along the road to Hāna. Furthermore, Action H in the Maui section of the Maui Nui DMAP created by Maui residents calls for HTA to advocate for increased enforcement of current laws.
Last month the state Department of Transportation began installing approximately 70 “no parking” signs at problem areas of the Hāna Highway, warning drivers about the $35 no parking fine and a $200 surcharge for illegally stopping on a state highway. Approximately 10 signs were designated for installation at each of the following locations: Waikamoi Stream Bridge, Twin Falls, Bamboo Forest, Ching’s Pond, Waikalani Bridge, Puaʻa Kaʻa Park, and Hanawī Bridge.
Between June 1 and June 23, the Maui Police Department issued 389 parking citations and 83 warnings to violators on Hāna Highway between Haʻikū and Hāna town.
In addition to the signage and enforcement, HDOT developed educational flyers for use by car rental agencies and is working on posters at Maui’s Consolidated Rental Car or “ConRAC” facility at Kahului Airport.