Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: August 12, 2002

THE KAUAI VISITORS BUREAU intends to move ahead on previously announced plans to develop a Kauai travel agent specialist program, said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the KVB. This comes despite unknown ramifications of a recent $5.1 million cut from the $61 million budget of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Kauai bureau receives all its funding -- $2.3 million a year -- from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, a department of the HTA.

KAUAI'S AGENT PROGRAM is being planned in conjunction with the HVCB, which already has a Hawaii specialist program. Neighbor-island Oahu also has its own program for agents, and, Kanoho said, "[Oahu's] been so successful that travel agents are asking for similar things from the other islands." She said the KVB plans to start the program sometime in 2003, with at least two groups of 20 agents each touring Kauai for education and training programs. They will then take a test to get their specialist certificate.

MEANWHILE, Kauai tourism is hoping hundreds of travel agents will visit the island either before or after the ASTA World Congress, to be held Nov. 3 to 8 in Honolulu. The KVB is providing free interisland air to delegates on Nov. 7. In addition, there are pre- and post-congress fam trips for agents scheduled.

OUTRIGGER WAIKOLOA Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island introduced a Celebration of Whales promotion, providing a complimentary whale-watching cruise for one guest per room on stays of four nights or more from Nov. 1 to April 15. From Dec. 16 to April 15, when the annual migration of North Pacific Humpback whales is at its peak, all passengers are guaranteed a whale sighting or they can return the next day for a complimentary cruise. The whale-watching cruises are operated by Ocean Sports, which launches its catamarans from the beach fronting the hotel. Beverages and snacks are included. Additional whale- watching cruises can be purchased at $59 for adults and $39 for children. Whale- watching cruises depart daily Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 and three times per day from Dec. 16 to April 15. Rates at Outrigger Waikoloa Beach start at $189 per room, per night, via the property's Best Values package through Dec. 18, for a gardenview or mountainview room. For reservations or information, call Outrigger Hotels & Resorts at (800) OUTRIGGER, e-mail: [email protected] or visit www.outrigger.com.

THE HAWAII STATE ART MUSEUM will mark its grand opening on Nov. 3 with a free Celebrate Culture and the Arts Festival in downtown Honolulu. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival will feature hands-on arts activities, art demonstrations, music and dance performances and food booths. Located at 1 Capitol District next to the State Capitol, the museum will house works from the Art in Public Places Program of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, which since 1967 has set aside 1% of the construction cost of public buildings to commissioning and acquiring works of art. The inaugural exhibition, Enriched by Diversity: The Art of Hawaii, includes nearly 360 works by 284 artists who were born or worked in the Aloha state. Admission to the 12,000-square-foot museum, the second largest in the state, will be free. For more information, call (808) 586-0307 or visit www.state.hi.us/sfca.

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