Outrigger Reports Expansion Plans Are Ahead of Schedule

HONOLULU -- Outrigger Hotels & Resorts continues to expand in the South Pacific as well as in the western Pacific region.

The Hawaii-based chain opened its first hotel in the area, the 150-room Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort, last July.

It will manage a hotel in the Cook Islands, pending its sale.

Later this year, it will open a resort in Palau; next year, it will open properties in Guam and Tahiti.

Outrigger revealed plans to become a major presence in the region in late 1994, when it announced a contract to operate a proposed Palau hotel.

According to Bill Henderson, Outrigger's vice president of development, the planned expansion is, if anything, ahead of schedule.

The company expects to announce several more contracts by the end of the year.

Outrigger continues to negotiate for a Fiji property and also is looking at Australia and New Zealand.

"With the ethnic, cultural, and business ties that exist between Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific, our expansion is a logical strategy," Henderson said.

He said no U.S. chain has a major presence in the region; South Pacific Hotels and Accor are the only chains that do.

But if the islands provide a niche for Outrigger, Henderson also sees opportunities in the Australia market, where many companies compete for management contracts.

He draws a parallel, for example, between Australia's Gold Coast and Maui; both depend mainly on their countries' domestic markets and have growing Asian arrivals.

In March, Dorsey Brady, previously Outrigger's vice president, resort management, relocated to Guam as vice president of operations for the Pacific region.

He will oversee properties in the region, including the construction of the Outrigger Guam Resort.

The 600-room beachfront hotel, at Guam's Tumon Bay, for which the chain signed a management contract last November, will open in mid-1998.

The hotel is in the final phase of a four-phase project that includes 120,000 square feet of retail space.

The hotel, which will include Guam's first Hard Rock Cafe, is opposite Duty Free Shoppers' main store and Planet Hollywood.

It will have a fitness center and meeting facilities and will be marketed as one of Outrigger's Royal properties, its top hotel category.

The 150-room Outrigger Marshall Islands, which opened at Majuro last July, almost doubled the number of rooms in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Rates start at $110.

Last November, Outrigger announced that it would manage the 151-room government-owned Rarotongan Resort on Rarotonga, capital of the Cook Islands, pending its sale to a New Zealand investor.

In January, the chain said it would manage the Hotel Tahiti, near Papeete. It will be rebuilt and expanded to 154 rooms at a cost of $30 million.

Opening late this year is the 165-room Palasia Outrigger Hotel, under construction in Koror, Palau's capital.

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