HONOLULU -- News that Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays will begin selling
Norwegian Cruise Line's Hawaii cruises on the Norwegian Star next
spring spurred reaction from the travel industry here. Pleasant is
Hawaii's largest U.S. wholesaler, bringing 400,000 to 450,000
passengers here each year. Sentiment is split over whether cruises
represent competition to hotels.
"Naturally, we're selfish and we'd like 100% of Pleasant's
attention and focus," said Kelvin Bloom, Aston Hotels' executive
vice president in Hawaii. "But we can understand, from a business
perspective, its desire to diversify."
Rob Solomon, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts senior vice
president of sales and marketing, echoed that sentiment. "It makes
sense all around because of the operator's ability to sell the
whole product, pre- and post-cruise," he said. "On one hand, you
hate for anyone to lose focus on your product, but if anyone is
going to sell a cruise, it should be Pleasant. "We'd rather see
them sell cruises in Hawaii than anywhere else. It takes more
business from the Caribbean."
Shari Chang, senior vice president of Aloha Airlines and a
member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said, "I say go for it.
"It's another way to bring people to Hawaii and we're not
discouraging that," Chang said. "What to me is interesting is that
its biggest customer base is the East Coast, so it may be bringing
in people we are not reaching. It opens up a good market for us --
one that we have not been able to tap that well."
Hawaii Tourism Authority chief executive officer Bob Fishman
said the move is likely to make some in the hotel industry edgy,
but it's a good move for the industry in general. "For some hotels
to see more competition during this time and this crisis, I could
understand their stress ... but it really reflects added demand for
Hawaii, and that is good for us," he said. Fishman said the growth
of the cruise industry in Hawaii is "really a growth in the demand
for Hawaii as a destination."
Rodahl Leong-Lyons, director of sales at Hyatt Regency Waikiki,
said she is looking forward to getting business from Pleasant in
the pre- and post-cruise categories. "Pleasant has more land
product than NCL [carries with its cruises], so it can book more
people on those tours," Leong-Lyons said.
"As a destination, Hawaii hasn't been able to command much of a
market share in the pre- and post-cruise areas because people use
all their time and money on the cruise," she noted. "But if anyone
can get people to stay before or after a cruise, it's