Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: November 25, 2002

THE RENAISSANCE WAILEA Beach Resort Hotel and several golf courses will be sold as a result of a loan restructuring agreement between the Kyoto, Japan-based Shinwa Golf Group and Japan's Resolution and Collection Corp. Shinwa has been forced to sell its Hawaii assets, which in addition to the hotel include three courses at the Wailea Golf Club on Maui, two courses at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club in Lihue, and about 250 acres of undeveloped land on Maui. Shinwa will continue to operate and manage the properties until the sale is completed next year, according to Karl Uesugi, president of Shinwa Golf Hawaii. No word on any buyers yet.

MAUI MONEY: Visitors to Maui continue to spend the most on a daily basis at $154 per person, according to a third-quarter state survey of visitor spending. A total of 10,220 questionnaires were collected from visitors to all islands. A total of 57.4% of those surveyed arrived from the U.S. West, 24.3% from the U.S. East. Complete survey data are available on line at www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/latest.html.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS will reinstate two weekly nonstop flights to Kauai in spring in response to Kauai's growing demand as a vacation destination. The flights will travel from Los Angeles and San Francisco beginning April 12. The San Francisco schedule runs through Aug. 30; Los Angeles will continue through Oct. 25. Departures and arrivals are on Saturdays. Airline seat capacity to Kauai has risen from 5,600 in September 1998 to more than 17,000 in September 2002, exemplifying the increase in service to the neighbor islands.

IT MAY BE MONTHS, years or even decades away, but residents on the Big Island of Hawaii are preparing now for the inevitable eruption of Mauna Loa, the world's largest volcano. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists are holding community meetings to educate the public about how fast molten lava will flow (approximately 5 mph) and what to expect when the first eruption since 1984 occurs. Scientists have recorded 33 eruptions on Mauna Loa since 1843. In the last 18 years, property worth more than $2 billion has been built on the mountain, which comprises more than 2,000 square miles -- or about half the island.

A SAN DIEGO WOMAN survived a shark attack about 150 yards off the beach at the Kaanapali Hotel on Maui last week. She was swimming alone in somewhat murky water when she and the shark bumped into each other. She sustained injuries to her right shoulder, arm and wrist. Though Hawaii averages three to four shark incidents annually, this was the sixth confirmed case of the year.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, SunTrips will pay 14% commission on all 2003 packages and group bookings, and 10% for air-only bookings. Call (800) 786-7253 or visit www.suntrips.com for more info.

MEANWHILE, SunTrips' Hawaii program from Oakland as of Jan. 9 will feature Boeing 757-200 aircraft, allowing nonstop service to Maui and Honolulu. The flights will be operated by North American Airlines. Eight-day packages include roundtrip airfare from Oakland to Hawaii, Alamo rental car and accommodations starting at $479 per person, double. Call (800) 786-8747.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES launched a fare sale for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and any of the carrier's nine western U.S. gateway cities during the first half of 2003. The fares are valid for travel originating in Hawaii or the U.S. mainland, but tickets must be purchased by Dec. 2.

THE KAHALA MANDARIN ORIENTAL reclaimed its Five Diamond status in AAA's annual list of best properties. Last November, the Mandarin and the Halekulani were downgraded, leaving Oahu without a Five Diamond hotel. On the neighbor islands, the Four Seasons Resort & Spa Hualalai, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea also earned Five Diamond ranking.

PACKAGES
• A Sweet Dreams package at Aston's Waikiki Joy Hotel offers amenities such as champagne and chocolates upon arrival, rose petals at turndown on the first night, in-room Jacuzzi with Hawaiian bath crystals and one hour of karaoke in GS Studios. The offer runs through Dec. 23 at the 94-room boutique hotel, which is located near the DFS Galleria arcade. Aston Resorts & Hotels Hawaii pays 10% on all of its properties. For more information, call (800) 922-7866 or go to www.aston-hotels.com.
• Delta Vacations is offering special Hawaii packages that can earn guests free nights and agents up to 15% commission. Participating hotels are located on Oahu and Maui, with the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa offering fifth night free, plus a $100 activity credit. Call (800) 221-6666 or click www.deltavacations.com.
• The Outrigger Wailea Resort on Maui and the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach on the Big Island are now offering an inclusive group/meeting package to help plan, budget and manage programs. The four-night, five-day package is based on a minimum of 50 rooms and 100 participants. The goods: oceanview rooms, one suite upgrade and two complimentary travel staff rooms, porterage fees, free local calls, daily breakfast and lunch, welcome and farewell receptions, a leisure dinner or luau, a theme party, farewell banquet and a hospitality room with open bar and unlimited refreshments. Visit www.outrigger.com.

DESTINATION MAUI travel agent seminars have been scheduled for 2003 across the U.S. Call (800) 525-MAUI or e-mail [email protected] for specific locations and dates.

THE FIVE-YEAR, $32 million renovation of the Kapalua Bay Hotel and Ocean Villas is complete. Upgraded areas include the lobby, pool meeting facilities, guest rooms, fitness center and other public areas.

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