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Kilauea Eruption Brings Brief Boost to Tourism

Visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park got a brief boost when Kilauea erupted again last week, creating new reasons for visitors to come to Hawaii, but just like that, the dramatic view of multiple lava fountains feeding into a lake of molten rock is over.

The U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Sunday that the eruption at the Kilauea summit within Halemaumau Crater has ended.

Traffic to the park is likely to slow with the stoppage of the first eruption since June. However, eruptions still bring excitement that increases interest in visiting the park with the hope of landing on lucky timing. After all, last week’s eruption was the fifth in almost four years.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said last week’s eruption brought at least 5,000 visitors, including local residents, or more per day.

“A sharp increase in visitors occurs with every eruption, especially when the eruption is confined to Halemaumau Crater and is a short walk from parking areas at the summit of Kilauea volcano,” Ferracane said. “The eruption that started on Sept. 10 is no exception. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park staff and volunteers are working extra hours to serve the influx of visitors with safety being our top priority.”

Hawaii island arrivals were up 8.1% year-over-year through July, according to data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. It’s too soon to see the results of last week’s eruption in the data; however, Ferracane said it’s safe to assume that many Hawaii island tourists will visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the No.1 attraction on Hawaii island.

“We don’t have any kind of statistics on how visitors plan their trips, but I think people do try to come and see volcanic activity. Especially if you have something like this, it might be more of a spur-of-the-moment decision, especially if they live on a neighbor island or in California,” she said.

To be sure, as many as 13.1% of visitors to Hawaii island visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from Jan.1 to July 31, according to Symphony Dashboard data available on the Hawaii Tourism Authority website. It was the second most popular point of interest on Hawaii island after Kailua-Kona town, which drew a 27.6% share of visitors during the same period.

Source : HawaiiTribuneHerald