Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: Oct. 8, 2007

THE HAWAII SUPERFERRY case, now drawing to an end in Maui Circuit Court, heard testimony related to potential harm to the humpback whales that use Hawaii's coastal waters to birth and nurture their young. The Superferry was forced to suspend service on Aug. 27 following the decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court that determined the need for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A full EIS had been deemed unnecessary in earlier court rulings that preceded the August start of service. The Superferry had received all required permits for service and is accumulating millions of dollars in losses as the service delay continues. Superferry President John Garibaldi and a Superferry marine expert are still scheduled to testify.

THE MAUI VACATION RENTAL ASSOCIATION has filed a case in Maui's U.S, District Court seeking to end a policy decision by Maui County to shut down most of the island's short-term Transient Vacation Rentals that do not meet county regulations. Such accommodations options are widespread, particularly upcountry and in rural areas not served by resorts and condominiums. The county government has begun implementing a strict adherence policy to regulations that have long been ignored. The MVRA claims lack of due process and shortcomings in the permit process, including the county's own advice that applicants need not apply for the bed-and-breakfast permits outlined in 1997 county legislation. The suit claims the county would be responsible for millions of dollars in damages should the new policy continue to be enforced. The 2007 Aloha Classic Wave Championships, scheduled for Nov. 5 to 17, is the first casualty of the impasse. The event has been canceled because of a lack of accommodations options caused by the shutdown.

DOWNHILL BICYCLE TOURS on Maui from the summit of Haleakala to the coast are being suspended following the third fatality in a year on the runs. All seven companies with permits for the tour have been advised to cease operations by Oct.10, pending a reevaluation of safety requirements for the tours.

WALT DISNEY PARKS & RESORTS has announced plans for a resort at Oahu's Ko Olina Resort. The hotel, the first Disney property independent of a Disney theme park, is scheduled to open on a 21-acre site in 2011. The announcement follows recently announced plans by Crescent Heights to develop a 16-story condo-hotel with 400 to 500 units and plans for the 1,000-room Grand Ko Olina Resort Hotel & Spa.

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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