Maui beckons tourists, and their dollars, to stave off economic disaster after wildfires

Unused rental cars are parked in an overflow lot at Kahului Airport in Kahului, Hawaii, on Aug, 14. 2023. So few tourists are coming to the Hawaiian island of Maui after last month’s wildfires that restaurants and tour companies are laying off workers and unemployment is surging. State tourism officials initially urged travelers to stay away but now want them to come back so long as they refrain from going to the burn zone and surrounding area. (George F. Lee/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

KAHULUI, Hawaii (AP) — Richie Olsten has been in Maui’s helicopter tour business for a half century, so long he’s developed a barometer for the tourism-dependent economy: rental cars parked at the island’s airport.