Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: Jan 24, 2005

THE STATE OF HAWAII approved the use of $4.5 million for improvements to the Kahului Airport on Maui. New baggage claim carrousels, an emergency power system, the relocation of agricultural check stations and a concession store, more space in the terminal lobby and a sidewalk canopy are the primary projects. The project will begin in March and be completed by September, according to airport officials. The airport also got  $8.9 million in federal funds for the project.

THE HYATT REGENCY MAUI RESORT & SPA is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a booking incentive for travel agents. When an agent books a three-night minimum stay for travel between April 1 and May 31, they will receive a $25 bonus commission per room. Room rates range from $355 per night, double, to $630 for Regency Club oceanview accommodations. Oceanview suites begin at $850 per night. Visit www.maui.hyatt.com for more information.

PRINCE RESORTS HAWAII is launching a new Plumeria Rewards program that can earn agents free nights, as well as amenities for their clients. For every booking of five or more nights through Dec. 22, agents qualify for a free night for themselves at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, the Maui Prince or the Hapuna Beach Prince. Guests will receive a complementary welcome amenity and a welcome card on the agent's behalf. Agents should go to www.princeresortshawaii.com/travelagents or call (866) 788-5138.

NEW BUSINESS: Letters of confirmation were signed by convention organizers to bring in new business to the islands. The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and SMG (a company that manages convention centers) and the Professional Convention Management Association received commitments from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Medical Association and Sweet Adelines International. The conventions are expected to generate $3.4 million in tax revenue for Hawaii. For more information, visit www.meethawaii.com

THE WAIKIKI AQUARIUM announced dates and times for new programs in 2005. Night-time reef walks enable participants to wade in the ocean, with a naturalist, who explains the diverse reef life. The program is offered Jan. 22, Feb. 5 and 21, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $12 per adult, $10 for children. "Small Fry" is a daytime session for children three and under that includes crafts, songs and tours. Its offered in five-week sessions from Feb. 16 and through May 4. Other programs include Family Overnights, Aquarium After Dark and "Ka'ena Point Coastal Hikes. Visit www.waquarium.org or call (808) 923-9741 for more information on programs, times and costs.
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