Visitors to Big Island sink nearly 5 percent amid eruption

HONOLULU — Fewer people are visiting the Big Island of Hawaii as opportunities to watch Kilauea volcano’s eruption have dwindled.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Tuesday that the number of visitors to the island dropped 4.8 percent in June compared to the same month last year. Statewide, the number of visitors grew 7.3 percent.

Spending by Big Island travelers declined 0.9 percent during the month. Across the state, visitor spending rose 10.3 percent.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May because of dangers posed by the eruption. Hawaii County is considering setting up a public lava viewing spot outside the park but is having a hard time finding a safe spot accessible to large numbers of people.

Currently, lava viewing is only possible by boat and helicopter.

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