Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: October 28, 2002

JOB CUTS may be on the horizon at Hawaiian and Aloha airlines, as the two begin coordinating efforts to reduce capacity on interisland flights beginning Dec. 1. "The possibility of furloughs is there," said a Hawaiian spokesman. Aloha already has asked its 3,000 employees to take pay cuts. The management of schedules between the two Hawaii-based carriers is the result of a yearlong federal antitrust exemption -- the only one of its kind granted since Sept. 11 -- that took effect Oct. 1 for interisland routes. The airlines do not have permission to coordinate or discuss fares, but the exemption may increase expenses for consumers.

CONTINUING ITS BUYING SPREE, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts agreed to acquire The Orchid at Mauna Lani, on Hawaii, from an affiliate of Colony Capital LLC for $140 million. Fairmont will operate the property and reflag it the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii in December. The 538-room resort is located on the island's northwest Kohala Coast. It's the third acquisition or planned purchase by Fairmont in recent weeks, joining deals involving the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in Northern California and the Monarch Hotel in Washington D.C.

IT'S LEGAL for Honolulu to charge visitors $3 to enter the park at Hanauma Bay while allowing state residents to get in free, the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii ruled. The park is a haven for snorkelers and has an educational center. The dispute arose last year when a California woman sued the city, claiming the fee discriminated against people based on their residency. In his ruling, federal Judge Alan Kay noted that residents pay state taxes, which largely underwrite the cost of operating the park. The city has been charging the fee since 1995.

THE ASTON WAIKIKI BEACH HOTEL will celebrate the opening of its $30 million renovation on Nov. 2. Featuring a "hip Hawaiian" theme with distinctive ancient and modern influences of Hawaii, the redesign includes whimsical representations using bamboo, Hawaiian tattoo art and colorful surfboards. A 30-foot lighted "volcano" that forms a roof for Tiki's outdoor bar sets the stage for the ambience of the hotel. Call (800) 922-7866 or visit www.aston-hotels.com.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS, is kicking off three packages for the NFL Pro Bowl Weekend Jan. 30 through Feb. 3, in Honolulu. All include a lei greeting, roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, four nights' hotel accommodations, hotel taxes, transfers to and from Aloha Stadium on game day, a tailgate party and game tickets. The MVP package starts at $470 per person land-only. The next step up, the Platinum package, adds preferred sideline game tickets, a special VIP party featuring NFL personalities and oceanview accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. This package starts at $1,049 per person, land-only. Finally, the Platinum Plus package, starting at $1,589 per person, land-only, upgrades the game tickets to club seating and offers oceanview accommodations at the Halekulani. Air add-ons are available for all packages. For more information and reservations, call Pleasant at (800) 448-3333. Visit Pleasant's Web site at www.pleasantagent.com.

FORGET THE CANOE and bring the clubs. Outrigger's Unlimited Golf package is available from Dec. 19, 2002, through Dec. 21, 2003, at three of its Waikiki properties -- the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, Outrigger Reef on the Beach and Outrigger Islander Waikiki on Lewers Street. Prices vary, but packages include one confirmed tee time per day at the Coral Creek Golf Course on Oahu's western shore, plus unlimited play privileges on the same day on a space available basis. (Taxes and gratuities not included; rates are commissionable.) Call (800) OUTRIGGER or go to www.outrigger.com.

TECH TIP: Agents can check out the Hawaii Tourist Network newsgroup at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hawaiitouristnetwork/. The online community is composed of retailers, tour operators, repeat travelers, government officials, hotel executives, travel trade marketing experts and media. Hawaii Tourist Network does not accept advertising, and it is staffed by volunteers from the islands. The group, which boasts more than 3,500 members, posts news and ideas on how to sell Hawaii and investigates possible scams to promote better business practices in Hawaii. To subscribe to Hawaii Tourist Network Online Forum, send an e-mail to [email protected].

THE HAWAII STATE ART MUSEUM is slated to open Nov. 3, featuring nearly 5,000 works of art by Hawaiian artists. The Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Call (808) 586-0308 or click www.state.hi.us/sfca.

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