Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: November 18, 2002

THE HAWAII TOURISM Authority approved the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau's 2003 marketing plan, and will extend the HVCB's contract for both global leisure and corporate meetings and incentives marketing through Dec. 31, 2003. Marketing budgets for the coming year were set at $33.15 million for leisure and $2 million for meetings. The authority late last month shifted marketing responsibilities for the Hawaii Convention Center from the HVCB to Philadelphia-based SMG, which manages the center. Its marketing budget remains at $4 million per year.

IF ALL GOES WELL, Molokai may become a new port call in December for a few cruise ships passing through the Islands, continuing through next year. The Statendam would be the first, arriving for 12 hours on Dec. 28. Other ships calling on Molokai include the Amsterdam and the Royal Princess. Deep-sea fishing excursions, scenic tours and a shuttle to Kaunakakai town will be available. But with nearly 1,000 passengers pouring onto an island with a population of only 7,000, not everybody is thrilled with the new itineraries. The survival of the port call will depend on its success.

MOLD WOES CONTINUE at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where mold contamination closed its year-old, 25-story Kalia Tower in July. The cost of repair work to the tower, originally estimated at $10 million, has climbed to $40 million -- about 40% of the entire $95 million price tag on the tower build. All furniture, carpeting and wall coverings in the 453-room Kalia tower were destroyed by the mold and will be replaced, and improvements will be made to the Lagoon Tower, where mold has crept into hallway ceilings. Guest rooms in the Kalia Tower are expected to open again next spring.

ALOHA AIRLINES asked its 3,000 employees to take a 10% wage cut during the next three years to save the airline an estimated $37 million. Aloha recently received conditional approval for a loan guarantee of $40.5 million from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board. "Employee groups is only one of the parties that we're working with to satisfy conditions of the ATSB," a spokesman for the carrier said.

MEANWHILE, Aloha Airlines is reducing its interisland flight schedule by about 20% beginning Dec. 2. It will temporarily return to its current schedule Dec. 20 to accommodate holiday travel demands. Changes include a decrease in Maui-Honolulu service from 23 daily flights to 16. A spokeswoman for the airline said she hopes Aloha can return profitability to the interisland market -- essential for an island state -- by knowing how many seats to make available so they don't sit empty. Hawaiian Airlines, meanwhile, said it would wait until January to implement flight reductions. Aloha and Hawaiian are operating under a federal antitrust exemption that allows them to work together on seat capacity of interisland routes.

HAWAIIAN HOLDINGS, parent of Hawaiian Airlines, reported third-quarter net income of $6.4 million for the period ending Sept. 30, compared with $11.3 million in the year-ago quarter--a drop of more than 40%. President and CEO John W. Adams, said the company expects that "the resulting weak yield and revenue environment that has prevailed throughout 2002 [will] continue in the current quarter and result in losses for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2002."

RUNAWAY'S 2003 Hawaii catalog is rolling off the presses, focusing on the honeymoon, spa and family markets. New hotel partners include the Waikiki Beach Marriott, Cliffs at Princeville on Kauai and Outrigger's Fairway Villas at Waikoloa on the Big Island. Call (800) 622-0723 for details or a copy.

ANOTHER VOTE of confidence for Outrigger's vision: Honolulu's City Council unanimously approved plans and permits for Outrigger Enterprises' $300 million Waikiki Beach Walk project. In an effort to revitalize Lewers Street and decrease congestion in the area, Outrigger will raze six existing buildings and construct a new 890-room hotel with an entertainment and retail complex -- incorporating more open space -- over 7.9 acres. Construction of Phase One is scheduled to begin in early 2004. Outrigger Enterprises is the parent company of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, the largest lodging company in Hawaii.

CLASSIC HAWAII and Embassy Vacation Resort Kaanapali on Maui are offering two nights free for travelers paying for five nights. The deal includes use of an economy rental car and daily buffet breakfast for two. Prices start from $853 per person, double. For details, contact (800) 221-3949.

WHAT WOULD CHRISTMAS on the Big Island be without dozens of decorated trees at the Mauna Lani Bay & Bungalows? For the ninth year, the hotel will invite non-profit and for-profit organizations to decorate Christmas tress in the hotel's atrium lobby from Dec. 6 to 25. The four trees voted the best would receive a $6,000 cash prize, awarded as charitable donations by the hotel. For-profit organizations must designate a charity to receive their portion of funds raised. Visitors can vote for their favorites by purchasing ballots for $1. Extra money collected will be divided evenly among the non-winning groups. For information, call (800) 367-2323 or visit www.maunalani.com.

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