Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: August 6, 2001

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL sold the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, a 1,300-room hotel on Waikiki, to a group of investors led by CNL Hospitality for about $130 million in cash. Marriott will remain a minority investor in the owning partnership and will continue to operate the hotel under a long-term contract. The sale is part of Marriott's strategy to divest corporate-owned hotels while maintaining management relationships. To date, the firm has sold assets valued at more than $600 million.

THE HAWAIIAN TOURISM AUTHORITY initiated a series of meetings with airlines urging them to add -- or at least maintain -- service to Hawaii. The number of air seats from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii decreased by 4.6% in the first six months of the year, according to the Hawaii Dept. of Business Economic Development and Tourism. "It's not like we have some grand proposal that we want the airlines to stand up and salute, but by meeting with them we hope to build positive relationships and some credibility," according to Bob Fishman, HTA's chief executive.

THE NUMBER OF AMERICAN tourists visiting Hawaii fell 3.8% in June compared with the same month last year, according to the Hawaii Dept. of Business Economic Development & Tourism. During the first six months of the year, the number of Americans visiting Hawaii was down just 1.2% from last year, from 2.23 million to 2.2 million, according to the department.

CLASSIC VACATION GROUP, owner of Classic Hawaii, posted a $355,000 profit during the second quarter. The company had a $2.2 million loss during the same period last year. Classic's Hawaii business and the company's inbound U.S. business put the breaks on higher profits in this year's quarter, said CEO Ron Letterman. "Our Hawaii business is being affected by a soft U.S. economy," he said.

AN EXTENSION OF THE BISHOP MUSEUM in Honolulu opened in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Kalia Tower in Waikiki. The Bishop Museum at Kalia has Hawaiian weapons made from sharks' teeth, Hawaiian crafts, surfboards, tools, clothes and a film of the Waikiki area from the early 1900s. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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