Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: April 9, 2007

HOSPITALITY ADVISORS has released statistics for February that indicate a slowdown in visitor arrivals. Statewide hotel occupancy declined from 87.3% to 79.4%, with Maui registering the smallest decline and Oahu the largest. The report follows similar weakness in January. The trend for summer remains unclear, with some hotels reporting strong advance bookings and some anticipating difficulties, resorting to value-added incentives and discounting.

THE MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL will remain closed until late 2008. The iconic property owned by Prince Hotels was closed after damage from a series of earthquakes on Oct. 15. The $50 million budgeted for the hotel goes well beyond earthquake-caused repairs and includes planned upgrades to property. The remake will include the adjacent Mauna Kea Golf Course, which will close in May to be re-grassed and have its irrigation systems upgraded. The work on the course will be done by Reese Jones, son of the course's designer, Robert Trent Jones Sr.

THE MOLOKAI AIR SHUTTLE has ended service to Molokai due to a scheduling dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration. The carrier, which carried 100 to 500 passengers per day aboard nine-passenger Piper Chieftan aircraft, operated without a fixed and published schedule, which violates FAA rules. The shutdown leaves only Pacific Wings providing intermittent flights to the isolated airport serving the Kalaupapa Settlement.

LANDOWNER MAUI LAND & PINEAPPLE has acquired a stake in the partnership that owns the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. The property is closing July 2 for a six-month, $95 million remake that will include the conversion of a portion of its hotel rooms into condominiums, many of which will be part of the hotel's rental inventory.

THE HAWAII SUPERFERRY has cleared environmental hurdles and will likely start interisland service, as planned, in July. The ferry will travel between Honolulu and Maui and Honolulu and Kauai, with a second ferry opening service to the island of Hawaii in 2009.  Opponents had fought in the courts to require environmental impact statements that the ferry was exempted from providing. Ferry pricing is expected to be competitive with interisland air fares.

Hawaii Editor: Allan Seiden

Phone: (808) 734-4677

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the Hawaii E-letter, contact Debbie Joseph at [email protected].

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