Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: August 26, 2002

SMOKING IN MAUI restaurants will be banned entirely as of Jan. 1, with the passage of an ordinance this past week by the Maui County Council. The smoking ban in restaurants includes outdoor seating areas and bars within restaurants, a Maui Visitors Bureau spokesman said. Smoking still will be allowed in stand-alone bars on Maui.

THE BIG ISLAND VISITORS BUREAU is developing an agent specialist program, set to launch during the ASTA convention in Honolulu. The program will be tied in with wholesaler partners, George Applegate, BIVB executive director said, and was developed with the help of specialist program expertise from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and Oahu Visitors Bureau. An agent Web page on the bureau's Web site, www.bigisland.org also is in the works.

MEANWHILE, Ambassadors of Aloha, a volunteer staff of senior-citizen greeters, is being tested at Hilo airport and will be introduced at Kona airport within several weeks. Volunteer personnel in signature aloha wear will be available to answer visitors' questions, direct them to car rental facilities and extend a warm welcome upon their arrival on Hawaii's Big Island. The visitors bureau also is planning aloha training for all airport workers, Applegate said.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES and the Radisson Kauai are offering agents and a traveling companion a three-night vacation including a Thrifty compact car rental and roundtrip air from any West Coast city Hawaiian serves for $359 per person. Hawaiian added Sacramento and Ontario, Calif., on June 7 and will begin serving Phoenix on Oct. 11. The three-night stay at the Radisson Kauai includes a nightly manager's cocktail hour party and complimentary valet parking. For reservations, call Hawaiian Airlines at (800) 367-5320. For further information, contact Radisson Kauai at (888) 805-3843 or e-mail [email protected].

CLASSIC CUSTOM VACATIONS introduced a Free Air, Free Car program on new bookings of seven-night Classic Hawaii vacations for travel through Dec. 14. The offer provides one complimentary economy air ticket per room from any California gateway on select airlines to Oahu or Maui. If departing from other cities or to other islands, a $300 air credit will be applied to Classic's contracted air fares. Clients also receive a complimentary compact Hertz rental car on bookings of seven nights or more at select hotels. Purchase of transpacific air, seven-night hotel stay and Classic's Change & Cancellation Waiver is required. A list of hotels participating in the promotion may be found at www.ccv.com/flyfreehotels.htm. For more information, call (800) 221-3949 or visit www.classiccustomvacations.com.

HANAUMA BAY MARINE EDUCATION CENTER opened last Friday on Oahu. The $13 million center gives visitors an overview of the bay, considered the island's best area for snorkeling, through a seven-minute video, computer and gallery exhibits. Admission is $3 and parking is $1. A new tram brings visitors down to the bay for the actual snorkeling and back up, for 50 cents and $1, respectively. The film, shown in a 110-person theater, provides tips for snorkeling safely and with minimal impact to marine life. Parking is intentionally limited at the preserve, which attracts 3,300 people per day on average.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS and McDonald's restaurants teamed up in a joint promotion called Your Lucky Day Hawaiian Giveaway, to award 30 Hawaii trips in 30 days in the Los Angeles, San Diego and Portland areas. Each of the 839 McDonald's restaurants participating in the promotion will feature posters, decals and tray liners, in addition to 4 million Pleasant Passport fliers, which will be distributed with each sale, outlining travel specials being offered during the promotion. McDonald's travelers from the San Diego area who purchase seven-night Pleasant Holidays travel packages will receive Two Vacations for the Price of One, with a coupon good for two nights at selected Marriotts in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Palm Desert, Calif.; and San Francisco. Pleasant Holidays is donating $20 from the sale of each travel package sold during the promotion to Ronald McDonald House Charities in the area of origin. For more information, call (800) 528-6278 or visit the Web site www.pleasantholidays.com.

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