LIHUE -- The third annual Hawaii Travel Makeke, which was held here
at the Kauai Marriott Resort, attracted 243 participants, including
80 buyer companies. Attendance was up by about 10% compared with
Now well established as Hawaii's own travel exchange, it was
held in early June, a departure in timing from last year, when it
was held in April. The date for the show was pushed back so that
most hotels, attractions and activities would have 2000 rates in
place and would be ready to talk business.
Operators had pushed for the later Makeke (which means
marketplace in Hawaiian), but there was a downside: The event was
held less than three weeks after the Travel Industry Association's
International Pow Wow show in Miami.
"We knew we would have fewer international buyers, but we had
more from the U.S. and Canada," said Jerry Picolla of Moraga,
Calif.-based Picolla International, the event's organizer.
"Hopefully, next year we will get a better spread," he said,
explaining that a month will separate the two events next year.
The first Makeke was held in early May 1997 on Maui. Last year's
was on the Big Island in mid-April. Next year's Makeke will be in
June on Oahu.
This year, the breakdown was two-thirds U.S. and Canadian buyers
and one-third international, compared with a 50-50 ratio last year.
Wholesalers such as Gogo Worldwide Vacations, Blue Sky Tours,
Runaway Tours and Alaska-based Hawaiian Vacations participated for
the first time.
Said Bryan Murphy, vice president of marketing at Gogo, "Last
year, it was way too early. Now most hotels have prices and are
ready to give contracts. Makeke allows you to see attractions and
smaller hotels that you have no time to see, and this is the time
for site inspections, so it is perfect timing."
Bob Froio, Pleasant Holidays' product director for Hawaii and
groups/incentives, agreed. "We have conducted business here because
properties have rates," he said. "Makeke is great. You bond with
competitors, find out what is going on. Hawaii is different.
Everyone is family here."
Maui-based Royal Hawaiian Holidays, a new Hawaii wholesaler, had
a sellers booth as a receptive tour operator for international
operators. Trish Harding, vice president, said she would have liked
more international buyers, but Makeke was too close to Pow Wow.
However, she added, "it is well organized. They have done a good
Before it was over, she had three verbal contracts -- from
Australian, Canadian and U.K. operators.
Ann Egami, sales and marketing director at the 250-room Waikiki
Parkside Hotel, said her second Makeke was better. "Last year, we
started from scratch," Egami said. "We got more appointments this
year and new business. Pow Wow is cost-prohibitive for a small
independent hotel, and this is an opportunity we would not
Freckles Smith of Smith's Boats, which operates cruises on
Kauai's Wailua River, and operator of the Tropical Paradise Luau
during the event, received relatively few initial appointments. But
he told his staff not to worry. Exposure came from participants
attending his luau, he said. (Others who sponsored evening
functions included the Kauai Marriott, the Kauai Visitors Bureau
and American Hawaii Cruises' Independence; Travel Weekly sponsored
This Makeke was the first for Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, a
$14 million water theme park that opened at Kapolei, Oahu, on
Memorial Day. Jerry Pupillo, director of sales, said he was able to
meet with many more buyers than he expected. "It was very
beneficial. I did not think it would be when I first walked in," he
Frank Alexis, general manager of Dream Cruises in Honolulu, was
able to nearly double his existing appointments. "This is the way
the little guy can go to [a] Pow Wow," he said. "And it is going to
be better for us next year because it is going to be on Oahu."