Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: July 1, 2002

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES stopped paying base commissions June 24 for tickets purchased in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Hawaiian has been among the last airlines to reduce travel agency commissions over the past four years, but with the rest of our industry clearly headed in this direction, we feel it's necessary to take this action to remain cost-competitive," said John W. Adams, Hawaiian's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

AT THE MOMENT, Aloha Airlines still pays agents 5% commission, no caps. "We haven't made any change to our policy and we're studying what other airlines are doing," an Aloha spokesman said.

MEANWHILE, ALOHA, just before the June 28 deadline, submitted an application for a federal loan guarantee with the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, which decides whether airlines will get the loan guarantees. An Aloha spokesman said a loan to the carrier would "compensate the airline for past losses and higher costs of operations due to security and the post-9/11 business environment."

THE NUMBER OF VISITORS to Hawaii continues to droop this year with domestic visitor counts down 4% and international visitor numbers down 21% through May compared with the same five months last year. The total number of scheduled air seats also is down, by 13% compared with last year, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. On the bright side, both Molokai and Lanai have had increases in tourism this year, 11% and 7.8% respectively. Oahu is hurting the most with visitor numbers, down 12%, followed by Maui with a drop of 8% and Kauai with a 6.5% decline.

SPACE ADVENTURES, a firm that operates space-like tours right here on Earth, said it will turn to Hawaii for its next Terrestrial Tour. Former U.S. astronaut Guy Gardner will serve as guide for the seven-day "Space on the Beach" tour, which is set for a Jan. 21 blast off. The tour, priced at $3,500 per person, double, explores the skies, land, and seas of Hawaii. Participants will see planetary formations at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; the heavens from the observatory a top Mauna Kea, and an "alien" ecosystem from a submarine off the Kona Coast. The tours are commissionable at 10%, with members of the firm's "exclusive agents" club earning up to 20%. For more information, call (888) 85-SPACE or visit www.spaceadventures.com.

CRUISING THE ISLANDS
• Princess Cruises' 2003-04 season will mark first for the line -- regular roundtrip cruises to Hawaii, with 15-day voyages from Los Angeles. Seven sailings will be offered on the Regal Princess between Nov. 22, 2003, and March 21, 2004, including a holiday cruise on Dec. 22.
• Holland America Line beefed up its Hawaii offerings for 2003 with three new 16-day Circle Hawaii cruises, which stop in the lesser-visited island of Molokai. The line will offer a total of seven Hawaii cruises next year, sailing roundtrip from San Diego on the Statendam.

CORRECTION: Last week's item about Blue Sky Tours' $75 booking bonus left out one detail -- the bonus only is available to agents in Washington and Oregon.

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