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Hawaii Faces Tourism Losses, Insurance Questions
By The Associated Press
HONOLULU, HAWAII - People nixing vacations to Hawaii’s Big island has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars as the top attraction, Kilauea volcano, keeps spewing lava.

Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island’s tourism board.

The booking pace for hotels and other activities, such as tours for lava viewing, zip lines and glass bottom boats have fallen 50 percent. A handful of cruise ships have also decided not to come into port even in Kona on the west side of the island, about 80 miles away from the volcano.

Meanwhile, residents who have recently lost homes to the lava-spewing mountain are on an urgent quest for answers about insurance, desperate to learn whether their coverage will offer any help after molten rock wiped out most of what they owned.

The eruption has destroyed about two dozen homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island.

On Monday, a new fissure spewing lava and toxic gas opened and a crack in the ground that emerged a day earlier sent molten rock crawling toward the ocean, officials said. Nearly 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon have a steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash miles into the sky.

Few insurance companies will issue policies for homes in Leilani Estates because it is in an area deemed by the U.S. Geological Survey to have a high risk of lava.

Published 09:25 AM, Tuesday May. 15, 2018
Updated 09:53 AM, Tuesday May. 15, 2018

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