Due to extensive damage from the Japanese tsunami, Kona Village decided to close for an extended period of time. This has left many of their customers looking for a place to stay elsewhere on the Big Island of Hawaii. “We are very sad to close Kona Village Resort for an extended period of time, but the damage to the property from this natural disaster is severe enough to render it inoperable,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, CEO of Hualalai Resort/Kona Village Resort. “We are fortunate that our guests and employees were evacuated safely. Our hearts are heavy with this decision’s impact on employees and loyal guests who have visited us over the years. Our thoughts also are with the people of Japan during this difficult time.” Kona Village has offered full refunds to all of their guests that were planning to stay in 2011. Due to the unique nature of Kona Village, many of their guests are repeat visitors every year. For the first time many of the guests have had to find a new place to stay. Many of them are looking to Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort and Mauna Lani Terrace, which are both beachfront vacation rental communities. Rob Dalton of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals stated, “Within the last week we received five reservations from guests that were scheduled to stay at Kona Village. All of them were bummed to not get to stay at Kona Village, but excited to try something new.” It appears that a fair amount of guests that typically stay at Kona Village prefer vacation rentals to hotels. Given that most guests of Kona Village come to the Big Island annually, not only will the closure have a positive impact on vacation rentals short term, but also long term as the guests look to return to Hawaii for their annual vacation. We wish for a speedy recovery for Kona Village and will keep you informed as the repairs begin.