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Fires undermine tourism in B.C., Maui

The fire-ravaged town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

The fire-ravaged town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Reuters

Tourist operators in both British Columbia and Hawaii are suffering as a result of catastrophic wildfires. Both want and need potential customers to return, though travel restrictions remain in the parts of B.C. that are still on fire.

In Maui, 115 are confirmed dead and hundreds remain missing as a result of the wildfires in Lahaina, which experts blame on climate change. The blazes destroyed the historic town, and more than 8,000 people have been thrown out of work by the sudden collapse of the tourism industry. Still, other parts of Maui remain open for business, and tourism operators in those areas are hoping visitors will return before they go broke.


Gov. Josh Green launched an appeal on Tuesday, asking tourists to return. “When you come, you will support our local economy and help speed the recovery of the people who are suffering right now.”

In British Columbia, where the fires are still burning, the industry is worried about the long-term impact because the area’s brand is dependent on its natural beauty. But travel bans on fire-stricken areas are likely to remain in place for some time.

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