Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: December 23, 2002 December 23, 2002 Share 1 -- LOWERED EXPECTATIONS: Hawaii lowered its economic forecasts, reflecting the ongoing struggles of the state's $10 billion tourism industry. The state Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, estimated that 6.4 million tourists will have visited Hawaii in 2002, spending more than $10.3 billion. These figures are 1.8% higher than last year's arrivals and represent a 2.2% increase in spending. But the improvements are less than half of earlier expectations. And last month's weak visitor arrivals from both Japan and the U.S. mainland did not help. The DBEDT forecast for 2003 is 6.9 million visitors and $11.1 billion in spending, representing another decrease in its original estimates. OUTRIGGER ENTERPRISES said it will enter into a franchise agreement with Marriott Int'l in a move that emphasizes Outrigger's ongoing effort to reach new markets. Scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, the changes involve the 521-room Outrigger Wailea Resort on Maui, which will be known as the Wailea Marriott, an Outrigger Resort, and the 545-room Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island, which will be called the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, an Outrigger Resort. Outrigger will continue to own and manage both properties.AT THE CONTROLS: Hawaiian Airlines appointed Mark Dunkerley its new president and COO, effective Jan. 1. He will report directly to John Adams, who will continue to serve as the company's chairman and CEO but will relinquish the title of president. A licensed commercial pilot who has held executive airline positions for 17 years, Dunkerley worked for British Airways before serving as president and COO at the Dallas-based airport ground service provider, Worldwide Flight Services. He then joined Sabena Airlines Group in Brussels, where he served as COO until April of this year.THREE MORE UNIONS at Aloha Airlines ratified new labor agreements with 10% pay cuts. The contracts bring the carrier closer to securing final approval of a $40.5 million federal loan guarantee. The separate ratifications by the flight attendants, transport workers and pilots unions followed earlier approval of the pay cuts by the mechanics union. In an effort to obtain the loan guarantee, the airline had asked all of its 3,000 employees to take pay cuts totaling $37 million over the next three years. Wage concessions will take effect Jan. 1.FAIRMONT HOTELS & Resorts completed its acquisition of the Orchid at Mauna Lani on the Big Island of Hawaii. The purchase price was about $140 million. In January, the 539-room property will be flagged The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.HOLLAND AMERICA said its Statendam on Dec. 28 will become the first cruise ship to visit Molokai. HAL expects 60%, or about 1,200 passengers and crew, to tender ashore--weather conditions permitting. The visit is one of five slated over the next 18 months. Molokai is expected to take in more than $650,000 from the tourists.MEANWHILE, environmental law firm Earthjustice argued in a lawsuit on behalf of a Molokai community group earlier this month that cruise ships should not be allowed to call on Molokai until an environmental impact assessment is done. However, a Maui second circuit judge refused to grant an injunction before the Statendam's arrival.PACKAGES • Pleasant Holidays is offering reduced rates on seven-night packages from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Oahu or Maui leaving Dec. 31 and returning to California on Jan. 7. Waikiki holidays start at $378 per person, double occupancy. Maui trips start at $539 per person, double occupancy. Call (800) 448-3333. • Pleasant also offers Hyatt Island Hopper, but this package is available through Dec. 16, 2003. Stays must include two Hyatt Regency hotels for a total of seven nights to qualify for special rates, complimentary breakfasts and room upgrades. A sample: four nights in Waikiki and three on Maui, starting at $1175 per person, double occupancy. • Hanalei Colony Resort will offer 50% off rack rates--with two-bedroom units as low as $99 per night--for travel between Jan. 4 and Feb. 20, 2003. Three-night minimum stay at the condominium beach resort is required. Call (800) 628-3004. • Gogo's new Hawaii deals include a five-night stay at the Sheraton Kauai Resort starting at $649, and $925 with airfare. Packages include daily buffet breakfast and sunset mai tais. The package must be booked by March 15, 2003. Visit www.gogowwv.com.