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Clearly, Hawaii is a premier destination. With its sandy beaches, island hospitality and proximity to the US, over 8 million tourists visit annually. But the eruption of the Kilauea volcano may halt tourism. The eruption affects both tourists and owners of timeshares in Hawaii.
The eruption began on May 3, 2018, with all of the impact you’d expect of an active volcano. It has continued to be very active ever since. Many people were evacuated from the immediate area early on. Surges in activity in early June have forced even more people to move.
“An estimated 2,500 people have been displaced by evacuations across the island since the eruption began five weeks ago, spouting fountains of lava and high concentrations of toxic sulfur dioxide gas through about two dozen volcanic fissures at the foot of the volcano.” Source: Reuters.
You may have seen the destruction all over the internet and social media. The massive streams of lava seem to eat anything in their path. A quick search will bring up many photos and videos of the destruction. So far, Hawaii has lost 600 homes, a number that is expected to rise as the eruption continues.
This situation is constantly changing. See here for updates on the status of the volcano.
The tourism industry in Hawaii is understandably nervous. They have said that unless your travel plans include the Puna region, the eruption should have little impact on your visit. Even state Governor Ige sought to put the minds of tourists and timeshare owners alike at ease:
“Hawaii’s air quality is being closely monitored on a continuing basis by scientists, meteorologists and the Hawaii State Department of Health. . . There is no reason for travelers to avoid making their vacation plans in the Hawaiian Islands due to safety concerns because of [the] Kilauea volcano. Visitors will be welcomed with open arms and treated to the hospitality, aloha, warmth and natural beauty that is found everywhere in Hawaii. The only area to avoid is lower Puna where the eruption is ongoing.” (Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority).
However, despite these reassurances, Hawaiian tourism has seen a decline in the shadow of the volcano. According to USA Today, there are “reports of widespread cancellations, no doubt from people seeing those incredible images of a mountainside aglow with hot lava.” (Source: USA Today).
Whenever we see disruptions like this in high tourism markets, we think of timeshare owners. Timeshares in Hawaii number 11,233 timeshare units (and counting), according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) quarterly report. So that accounts for many of the tourists who would typically be visiting Hawaii now. If you own a timeshare in Hawaii and are reluctant to visit due to the volcanic eruption, you’ll need to make other arrangements.
Switching your week or renting out your timeshare are two possibilities. If you move your week, you won’t miss out on your vacation. However, you may have trouble reserving your ideal dates because of high occupancy rates.
As the HTA study notes, Hawaiian timeshares experience the typical high occupancy rates associated with island resorts. Timeshare properties in Hawaii averaged a 92% occupancy rate statewide for the first three months of 2018 compared with the 82% occupancy for hotels. These high rates come with a lack of flexibility, especially in a region with variables such as volcanic eruptions. Switching weeks becomes more challenging with these high rates.
If you don’t want to cancel but don’t want to waste your fees for the year, renting out your timeshare is another option. Make sure to rent out your unit according to the details of your agreement.
With the reduction in tourism, owners and timeshare owners are looking to fill vacancies. And that can mean good things for renters. Look for lower prices on accommodations and smaller crowds.
Timeshare rental sites can connect you with timeshare owners. Airbnb also offers a stunning array of properties.
Looking to get out of your Hawaii timeshare? You have options. Hawaii offers a rescission period of seven calendar days. The clock starts when you sign the contract or receive the timeshare disclosure statement. Hawaiian law requires you to send a cancellation letter to the address in your contract. For more information on Hawaiian timeshare law, click here.
If you’ve passed the rescission period, we can help. Contact us here or at (407) 627-1179. We’re happy to assist you in exiting your timeshare in Hawaii or anywhere else.