Lisa Piumarta discusses the Hawaii market with contributing editor
TW: The HVCB was reorganized in the mid-'90s, when most of the
former U.S. offices were closed. How does the reorganization affect
Piumarta: With modern communications, we handle everything out
of one office, which happens to be in San Francisco. Although
travel agents can't run to a local office to pick up brochures,
they can access our toll-free number [(800) 353-5846], type in
their telephone and/or fax number, and a form is faxed for
requesting specific collateral materials. We can provide literature
in quantities, and can also send videos, posters and collateral
material supplied to us by each island in our state.
We produce the 100-page "Islands of Aloha" booklet, which is
also available to agents, as well as "Hawaiian Time," a monthly
newsletter for travel professionals.
TW: What is the HVCB doing to promote family travel to
Piumarta: Hawaii is the perfect destination for families and our
HVCB members have done so much to encourage family travel by
offering special rates, children's programs, and educational
activities that celebrate the diversity of Hawaiian culture.
We are currently compiling a list of our hotel and condominium
members who offer family or children's programs. This information
will be distributed through the "Hawaiian Time" newsletter, the
America's Europe office, and eventually on Hokeo, the HVCB Web
TW: What's the most direct route for travel agents to get
answers to specific questions?
Piumarta: Up-to-date information is always available on our Web
site [www.gohawaii.com]. We post details about weddings, as well as
a calendar of events, phone numbers for wholesalers and many other
facts. Our Travel Agent Help Line and the HVCB island chapters [on
Kauai, Waikiki/Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island] also
provide current information quickly.
TW: What educational programs does the HVCB provide for travel
Piumarta: We offer two different types of travel agents training
programs. The newest, launched last November, is the Hawaii
Destination Specialist Course, a self-study program offered through
the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, which earns a
certificate. [ICTA (800) 542-4282; cost $79.]
We also have our own Focus on Hawaii program, which we have done
for the past three years. That's a national seminar we take on the
road, for sales and destinations training, with interactive
exercises and sales tools. Agents can contact the HVCB about dates
for nearby areas.
TW: Tourism for the state has reportedly been in the doldrums
for a couple of years. What are your predictions and/or targets for
1998 and beyond?
Piumarta: We're working for a slight increase over '98, and are
shifting focus to the mainland now that Southeast Asia's economic
problems have affected that market, which had been strong for us.
We're widening the impact of our own budget, by cooperating with
suppliers within the state. In addition, we'll have more lift from
the mainland. United has always been one of the strongest carriers
and their support continues with new service to Kauai nonstop from
Los Angeles. New lift is coming from Continental with
Newark-Honolulu nonstop starting in June. We're fortunate to have
service from all the major carriers, including Delta, American,
Northwest, TWA and, of course, Hawaiian.
We'll be sending a large contingent to the ASTA World Congress
this year, and plan to increase our presence at other major travel
"Destinations Hawaii," a fact-filled guide available free to
travel agents: (801) 972-3242; fax (801) 977-6130.
Destination Lanai: (800) 947-4774.
Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau, San Francisco: (800)
353-5846 or (415) 248-3800; fax (415) 248-3808;
HVCB Big Island of Hawaii: (800) 648-2441.
Kauai Visitors Bureau: (800) 262-1400.
Maui Visitors Bureau: (800) 525-6284.
Molokai Visitors Association: (800) 800-6267.
Waikiki/Oahu Visitors Association: (888) 464-6665.