Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: November 4, 2002

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES said Oct. 31 that it will reduce its workforce over the next several months by about 150 employees in response to unfavorable economic conditions from weak travel demand. The layoffs represent 4% of the airline's total workforce. The company also secured voluntary leaves of absence from about 60 flight attendants, reduced work schedules for part-time reservationists and will leave open positions unfilled. Those affected include pilots, flight attendants, and airport service and maintenance personnel.

VISITORS from the U.S. mainland are staying longer in Hawaii, according to the state Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. A total of 462,139 visitors stayed a cumulative 4.4 million days in September, just slightly behind the record 4.5 million visitor days for September 1997.

CRUISE SHIPS, meanwhile, carried 24,112 passengers in Hawaii in the month of September, a surge of 91% from year-ago levels. Of those, 58.6% were repeat visitors.

SPEAKING OF CRUISES, Gov. Ben Cayetano and officials of the North West CruiseShip Assn. signed a "memorandum of understanding" that puts forth a set of environmental practices. According to the state's Environmental Health Administration, all members of the association running cruises longer than one day in the islands pledged to follow certain regulations. For example, with few exceptions, ships may not discharge waste between the shoreline and 4.4 miles beyond an ocean depth of 600 feet. The document is not legally binding and carries no penalties.

HOTEL PERFORMANCE in the state improved in September, driven primarily by a rise in daily room rates on Kauai, according to Hospitality Advisors and Smith Travel Research. On Kauai, average daily rates rose from $137.34 last September to $150.01 this year. Oahu also improved. Room rates there reached $109.49 compared with $107.89 a year ago. Statewide, the average daily room rate increased by 1% to $130.40 for the month, marking the first gain in room rates since August 2001. Kauai also led the market in occupancy, with 73.8% in September, a gain of 10.8% compared with the previous-year level.

AGENTS LOOKING TO experience Outrigger Hotels & Resorts properties first-hand should check the firm's special offers for 2003. Examples include $99 per night at the Waikiki Shore, a condominium on Oahu, and Royal Kahana Resort, a high-rise oceanfront condo on Maui. Outrigger Reef Fiji invites travel agents year-round for $129 per night. Call (800) 688-7444 or visit www.outrigger.com.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS is offering special room rates at the Sheraton Maui through Dec. 25. The five-night, land-only deals -- available for garden or partial oceanview rooms -- start at $749 per person, double. Call (800) 242-9244 or visit www.pleasantagent.com.

THE HONU GROUP will open a $140 million luxury goods retail complex in Honolulu, called 2100 Kalakaua Ave., with eight high-end retailers, including J.P. Tads, Tiffany & Co. and Chanel. The grand opening is set for early December.

CASTLE & COOKE RESORTS named Paul Horner and Tina Harlow as general managers of the Manele Bay Hotel and the Lodge at Koele, respectively. Horner most recently served as hotel manager at the Lodge. Harlow joins the firm from her position as general manager of the Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, Mo. The two resorts on Lanai are members of Starwood's Luxury Collection Hawaii.

THE HAWAII VISITORS and Convention Bureau will bring the art of hula to key travel audiences in China at the China Int'l Travel Mart in Shanghai, Asia's largest travel show. The event is scheduled from Nov. 14 to 17.

CLARIFICATION: Aloha Airlines said it is discussing pay cuts with employees but is not anticipating job cuts as a result of the Interisland Cooperation Agreement with Hawaiian Airlines.

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