HAWAII'S VISITOR arrivals in November fell short
of expectations, according to the state Department of Business,
Economic Development and Tourism. Some 485,970 visitors came to
Hawaii in November, up 24% from year-ago levels, but down 8.9% from
2000. The good news is that the number of visitor days from the
domestic segment, Hawaii's primary market, reached 3.4 million in
November, resulting in a 19.4% surge in total visitor days compared
with the same month last year. When compared with November 2000,
however, total visitor days were 1.5% lower.
MEANWHILE, visitors from Japan and the eastern
United States staying in luxury hotels helped Oahu achieve Hawaii's
highest occupancy rate in November for the first time in almost a
year. While hotel occupancy improved statewide over year-ago
levels, the numbers still lag behind the same month in 2000,
according to a survey conducted by Hospitality Advisors. Average
hotel occupancy throughout the islands was 65.5%, up from 57.5% in
2001, when the state was still reeling from the effects of Sept.
11. Oahu's numbers jumped from 54.1% last year to 69.2%, largely
because of a sharp rise in tourists from Japan. Average revenue per
available room also increased from $73.90 in November 2001 to
$85.66. All islands showed an increase in occupancy and revenue per
available room except Maui, which saw its rev par drop $4 and
occupancy levels fall from 64.9% to 62.2% in November.
PROTESTS AND MOTHER NATURE played roles in the
aborted first attempt by a luxury cruise ship to visit the Hawaiian
island of Molokai. With high winds stirring up the notoriously
rough seas, officers aboard Holland America Line's MS Statendam
decided against tendering passengers to Kaunakakai Harbor, and
motored to Kona on the Big Island instead. While many local
merchants waited anxiously, hoping 1,200 visiting passengers would
infuse a significant amount of money into the economy, about 150
protesters wielded signs on the pier and aboard a flotilla of
canoes and small boats. They argued that cruise ships will damage
Molokai's physical environment and spoil its rural charm. This
would have been one of six stops that the Statendam and two other
ships are scheduled to make on Molokai this year.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES will begin charging for all
paper tickets this year in its ongoing effort to achieve financial
viability. Joining a trend set by many other U.S. carriers,
Hawaiian will offer paper tickets upon request for $25. In
addition, beginning today, Hawaiian will stop producing and
distributing interisland coupons. Existing coupons, however, will
be honored through their expiration dates. One day after Hawaiian's
announcement, Aloha Airlines said that it, too, will eliminate
interisland coupons and begin charging $25 for paper tickets.
THE KAHALA MANDARIN ORIENTAL HAWAII is one of
four properties in the state--and the only resort on Oahu--to win
the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award for its facilities, service
and amenities. The 364-room hotel in a residential area of Kahala
features five restaurants, new spa suites, as well as views of the
ocean, Diamond Head and a private lagoon that is home to five
Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins.
• How about a break from the beach for spirits, snakes, lions, a
magical instrument, a hero in search of true love and some fabulous
music? Hawaii Opera Theatre will present Mozart's comedic opera
• The Magic Flute" at Blaisdel Concert Hall Feb. 14, 16 and 18.
Tickets from $27 to $95. (808) 596-7372.
• Indian deities, Tibetan rugs, Turkish textiles and Qajar
paintings will be on display at the University of Hawaii's Manoa
Art Gallery from Jan. 12 to Feb. 21, when individual collectors
will share their prized possessions with the public in "Private
Passions." Free admission.
• Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii announced its 2003 packages
at its 13 island properties. Guests are encouraged to build their
own experiences by choosing one activity per person per day,
ranging from afternoon tea and spa treatments to parasailing and
mountain biking. Honeymoon and luxury romance packages on Kauai are
also detailed. (888) 488-3535.
• The Lodge at Koele and The Manele Bay Hotel on Lanai are offering
new golf, romance and adventure packages for 2003, with special
two-night add-ons to a Maui vacation. "Family Values" allows
parents with children under 17 to receive a second room free when
they book one room at the published rate. (800)-321-4666.
• What better place to rekindle romance than the Pink Palace?
Guests who stay a minimum of four nights at the Royal Hawaiian
Hotel www.royal-hawaiian.com in Waikiki can indulge in the
romance package that includes champagne and strawberries upon
arrival, dinner for two in the Surf Room, a one-hour catamaran
sail, daily breakfast buffet and the Royal's pink teddy bear. Rates
begin at $370 per night.