Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: July 8, 2002

HAWAII HOTELS reported rising occupancy rates and declining average room rates in June. Occupancy rates were 71.4% for the week ended June 15, according to Hospitality Advisors LLC. Those figures represent an increase of 4.2% over the same period last year. Average daily room rates, however, dropped 17.9% to $145.43.

MEANWHILE, air arrivals to the islands were about the same as 2001 levels, according to the state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The average number of daily passengers arriving on flights from the mainland during the seven-day period ended June 18 was 1% higher than the same period last year.

MEETING EXPECTATIONS... The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau said bookings for the Hawaii Convention Center this year are 44% ahead of 2001's pace. "We're very pleased with the increase and expect this trend to continue," said Sandra Moreno, the HVCB's vp-meetings, conventions and incentives. The HVCB has made 23 convention bookings, representing an estimated $221 million in visitor spending and 125,000 hotel room nights, Moreno said. On the heels of the news, the HVCB said it secured a commitment from the American Psychiatric Assn. to hold its 2011 convention in Hawaii. The APA convention -- and it's 18,000 attendees -- should generate more than $51 million for the state, the HVCB said.

THE HVCB also said its Web site is attracting more users. The number of unique visits at http://www.gohawaii.com has been "well above" last year's levels. Through May, the site attracted about 1 million users, an increase of 37.5% over the same period in 2001.

CELLULOID DREAMS: Disney's newest animated movie, "Lilo & Stitch," may give Hawaii tourism a boost, according to the HVCB, which notes that the movie "captures the spirit of Hawaii and presents Hawaii culture in an appealing way" and received a rave review from film critic Roger Ebert who said "the film firmly positions itself in Hawaii -- both the Hawaii of tourist kitsch and the Hawaii of the aloha spirit."

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