Concerns arise from local travelers heading to Hawaii

Updated: May. 14, 2018 at 6:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - As a consequence of volcanic activity on the Big Island, officials with the Big Island tourism board estimates there have been $5 million worth of cancellations from this month through July.

Tucson News Now spoke with a local travel agent to hear if it is having a local impact.

Tom Frederick seems to know Hawaii as well as he knows Tucson.

"When you've been to these places, you kind of bond to it," he said.

He's a local travel agent. Hawaii is a hot spot for his clients, but he's got a personal connection too.

He has family on the Big Island, "We're concerned about them. We're staying in close touch, watching their Facebook posts, and of course we've offered to help out."

Lava spews not far from his cousins' home,  "They're getting their home ready to be gone for some period of time," he said they're ready to evacuate if they need to.

Frederick has flown over Kilauea before and has seen the effects of an active lava flow.

"It's a mixture of heartbreak and fascination. It's fascinating to see what Mother Nature can do," he explained.

The volcano is often a draw for people, but not when it's like this. Frederick said what is currently happening may be more than what people are bargaining for.

"Where I normally might consider a value added and a great photo opportunity, it's gotten beyond that a little bit."

It has become concerning for local travelers, as well.

Frederick told us he's gotten several questions, and had one couple cancel their honeymoon trip to the big island, re-booking elsewhere.

"I haven't been impacted yet, but I'm watching it very closely," he said.

He hasn't had to advise anyone to cancel their trips to the big island yet.

With geologist's uncertainty on what's next, he's keeping an eye out for both his customers, and his family.

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