HONOLULU (KHON2) – The scenic drive to Hana, officially known as the Hana Highway, has long been a point of interest for visitors to Maui. But it’s also an important road for residents of East Maui who rely on its accessibility in their daily lives.
Now, with fewer travel restrictions, more tourists are returning to the islands, leaving residents with a problem of traffic jams on the long winding road.
To help alleviate the situation for Hana residents, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is actively working with Maui County officials and other state agencies to provide solutions.
The ongoing effort, along with proposed solutions to issues facing Maui’s tourism industry, is published under HTA’s Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan. HTA says the plan aims to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period.
“We take seriously the concerns expressed by the residents of Hana and East Maui about the impact of visitors to their community, especially along this main thoroughfare they rely on, and we are committed to addressing them. by viable solutions,” said John. De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Some of the actions in the plan address issues such as:
- Fight against illegal rentals
- Educate visitors
- Two-way communications and industrial collaboration
- Address transportation and infrastructure issues
As for the Road to Hana, one of the solutions offered by HTA to end overcrowding is to encourage visitors to join a tour from an authorized travel agency instead of driving on their own.
HTA has released a list of tour operators offering Hana tours here.
And state agencies are getting involved too.
On June 10, the Hawaii Department of Transportation announced that it had installed approximately 70 “no parking” signs on the Hana Highway, warning drivers of a $35 no parking fine and a $200 surcharge for illegal stopping on a national highway. Ten of the signs were installed in popular locations such as: Waikamoi Stream Bridge, Twin Falls, Bamboo Forest, Ching Pond, Waikalani Bridge, Puaa Kaa Park and Hanawi Bridge.
According to the office of Maui Mayor Michael Victorino, between June 1 and June 23, the Maui Police Department issued 389 parking tickets and 83 warnings to offenders on the Hana Highway between Haiku and the town of Hana.
For more information, visit the HTA website.