Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: July 29, 2002

HAWAII LOCAL 5-0? Union representatives of workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the four Sheraton hotels in Waikiki scheduled a strike vote for Aug. 13. The move establishes a deadline for progress in contract talks between union and hotel management reps, which have been under way since April. The union, the Local 5 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, represents some 1,500 workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and about 2,500 workers at the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Moana Surfrider, Royal Hawaiian and Princess Kaiulani. The last strike by the local was in 1990, according to Jason Ward, research analyst; the last strike vote was only last year.

AS IF THE THREAT of a strike weren't enough, Hilton Hawaiian Village took all 352 guestrooms in the Kalia Tower out of service after mold was discovered in tower rooms during cleaning. Experts in the field have been hired to evaluate the cause and extent of the problem and determine steps to alleviate the situation, according to Peter Schall, senior vp and managing director.

WEST COAST CARRIES HAWAII: On the strength of increased lift from the West Coast, total scheduled nonstop air service to Hawaii will match last summer's levels, and will be down only slightly for the year, the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau said. A bureau analysis of Official Airline Guide flight data predicts that the total number of scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawaii this summer will rise by 0.8% or about 18,600 seats to a little more than 2.2 million. During the June-August period, the U.S. West major market area is expected to post a 12.2% increase year-over-year in nonstop seats to Hawaii. The launch of services from new nonstop gateways such as Burbank, Sacramento and Ontario, Calif.; Denver; and Salt Lake City, contributed significantly to this summer's growth, the HVCB said. Conversely, the switch to smaller aircraft and the suspension of Pleasant Hawaiian's nonstop flights from Chicago and New York contributed to a 13.9% decrease in summer capacity from the U.S. East major market area. Looking at airlines' planned capacity through the end of the year, nonstop seats to Hawaii are expected to end the year just 1.7% below last year's levels, the bureau said. Similar to summer trends, a 7.3% increase by the U.S. West market is expected to offset a 10.5% decline from the U.S. East and other markets worldwide.

STATEWIDE HOTEL OCCUPANCIES in Hawaii slipped 7.5% during the week ended July 13, to 75.5%, the HVCB said, while average daily room rates were off 15.2% for the week, well below last year's levels. Occupancies slipped after nearly matching last year's levels in late June and early July, the bureau said. Meanwhile, the average number of daily passengers arriving on domestic flights during the seven-day period ended July 16 remained steady at 100% of last year's number, according to the Hawaii Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. That same week, the average number of daily passengers arriving on flights from Japan was 77% of last year's number.

HOTEL HANA-MAUI is marking completion of a $10 million renovation by its new owners, San Francisco-based Passport Resorts, by offering a Hana Hideaway Escape package for stays of at least three nights through Oct. 31. Guests receive daily full breakfast for two; daily in-room water, juice and fresh-brewed coffee; and a lei greeting and tropical drink on arrival. Package rates are $360 per night for an oceanfront Sea Ranch cottage (rack rate $425), $310 per night for an oceanview Sea Ranch cottage (rack rate $365); and $235 per night for a Garden junior suite (rack rate $275). Commission is 10%. For information or reservations, call (800) 321-HANA, (415) 788-7870, Ext. 5167 or go to www.hotelhanamaui.com.

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