Maui to focus on families with ad campaign

WAILUKU, Hawaii -- The Maui Visitors Bureau launched Maui Loves Kids, a campaign aimed at attracting families.

Initially, the campaign is directed at the travel press, but it also will be a focus at trade shows and by the end of the first quarter will be incorporated into trade advertising. "Not only do we provide a great vacation for families, but we offer an educational and a new cultural experience in a fun atmosphere, as well," said Marsha Wienert, MVB executive director.

Wienert pointed to new family-oriented attractions -- the $20 million Maui Ocean Center, which opened at Maalaea last April, and the Hawaii Nature Center, which opened in Iao Valley last year.

Maui also has such attractions as Haleakala National Park; the Sugar Cane Train; Maui Tropical Plantation, and whale, whaling and missionary-home museums. It has more than 30 miles of beaches; snorkeling and whale-watch cruises, and a range of ocean sports and activities.

Many of the island's 60 hotels and 100 resort condominiums have family packages and year-round children's programs. "We want to capitalize on this," Wienert said.

The campaign features a logo and an eight-panel brochure. There is also a section on family fun in MVB's new, 64-page 1999 vacation planner; the consumer number for single copies is (800) 525-MAUI.

Wienert said that Maui gets its fair share of families arriving in Hawaii but added, "There is a much bigger market out there of those who go to mainland theme parks and national parks."

More than one-third of Maui's 2.3 million annual visitors are part of a group of three persons or more, she noted.

MVB, which promotes the Maui County islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, is a chapter of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. With a budget of more than $1 million from the state and $3.2 million from Maui County, the visitor bureau has for the past three years concentrated on mainland-city advertising blitzes as its main marketing vehicle. But the group also advertises and promotes to such individual markets as golf; honeymoons and weddings, and meetings and incentives.

This year, it revived its Maui Golf Coast program of earlier years, placing emphasis on the golf market and promoting new Delta Vacations Maui golf packages. For 1999, families will be the focus.

Wienert said that tourism to Maui is doing well this year, considering Hawaii's overall decline in Asian visitors. For the first nine months of the year, Maui's visitors totaled 1.75 million, a 1% increase compared with the period last year. Statewide arrivals, at 5.12 million, were down 1.6%. For the period, Maui's 1.43 million westbound visitors increased 3.3%, while its 315,730 Asia/Pacific arrivals declined 8.4%.


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