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A question of balance
It's a question of balance: on one hand, tourism is suffering; on the other, the people are suffocating.
The most honest answer I can give is as follows:
Air quality in Kona on the tourism-friendly scale is officially "unhealthy." According to the American Lung Association index, it's "critical." It's up to you to decide which is more relevant.
Where I live, 2400 feet above sea level, the toxic plume rolls in and out. I have one lung, having had my right lung removed as a child (technically, it wasn't me who had it removed, but my parents).
When the University used to monitor vog emissions around the island, it was published that "all the fog was below 800 feet." I can vouch that the latest emissions of sulfuric gas and glass particles are swirling everywhere.
It's plain that tourism is suffering, and adjunctively, hotel bookings and related jobs, with airline and hotel cancellations up 50% and future bookings down 50%.
Driving to the local store I couldn't help but notice that, down below, Kona was totally invisible, immersed in the worst smoke blanket I have ever seen, worse than Singalpore, Mexico City, Beijing, or Delhi on their worst days.
Yet up here where I live, on the slopes above town, the air air is clear and the sun is shining. Go figger.
The island economy depends on tourists visiting and spending money. Realtors depend on people coming to buy homes. According to the local newspaper, half of real estate purchase contracts all over the island have been cancelled.
It truly is a question of balance. If what you want is to help support the local economy, by all means comes.
If you envision enjoying a white sand beach with a clear blue sky, possibly you will be disappointed. Every day is different.
Scuba diving, on the other hand...
Δ Thanks for perspective...
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