HONOLULU -- The
islands of Hawaii are bursting with activities and special events,
providing travel agents with a wide range of options to match their
clients interests. The challenge may be to sort through the
asked the tourism executives at the various islands to identify
some of their favorites:
Im torn between
the Hawaiian cultural events, including hula festivals, Hawaiian
falsetto contests, slack key guitar festivals and the many food
festivals on the Big Island, said George Applegate, Big Island
Visitors Bureau executive director.
He also cited the
Senior PGA Mastercard Championship at Hualalai Resort, being held
this year from Jan. 19 to 25; hula performances at Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park throughout the year; and the Merrie Monarch Hula
Festival in Hilo in April as noteworthy.
Triathlon World Championship in October, Hawaiis Big Island
Festival and the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, both in November,
also made Applegates list.
The Kona Coffee
Cultural Festival, in particular, Hawaiis oldest and most
successful product festival -- and the only coffee festival in the
U.S. -- has become an institution on the island.
Held in early
November, the festival is made up of more than 30 community events
that showcase not only the harvest but the local traditions, as
well. The festival draws more than 12,000 visitors over the 10-day
Another big draw,
the third annual Big Island Festival, is on tap for Nov. 2 to 6 and
features five days of cultural activities, golf and culinary
events. Activities take place at various resorts, and travel
packages tied to the event are available at Hapuna Beach Prince
also can be used to work around festivals or other special events,
such as the Fairmont Orchids Rock On at the Fairmont Orchid
package, created to showcase the propertys ancient Hawaiian
The Sony Open --
the PGA Tours first full-field event of the season, held this year
from Jan. 10 to 16 -- is one of Oahus signature special events,
according to Maura Jordan of the Oahu Visitors Bureau.
which attracts golf pros to the Waialae Country Club, is the
largest charity sports event in the islands, Jordan said. The
Hawaii State Golf Association offers a discount card that trims
rates at participating courses and golf shops, available for
Golf packages are
widely available on the island, including the Marriott Ihilani
Resort & Spa Ko Olina and Turtle Bay Resort, both of which
offer amenities and packages geared to this market.
There are more
than 30 golf courses on Oahu, from the oldest -- built in the 1890s
and now known as the Moanalua Country Club -- to the newest -- the
Royal Kunia Country Club, which opened in 2003. Other notable
courses include the designed Ko Olina Golf Club, known for its
about the courses and being able to tie them in with a big-name
golf event is just one more way for travel agents to sell the
destination, Jordan said.
The Pro Bowl, the
National Football Leagues all-star game, is scheduled for Feb. 13
in Oahu. Pleasant Holidays created a series of air inclusive group
packages with hotel accommodations -- at a number of participating
Waikiki properties -- as well as preferred seating at the
Also on tap are
the Polynesian Cultural Center Fireknife Competition on May 12 to
14, showcasing the ancient wooden weapon and its uses, and the Vans
Triple Crown of Surfing event, held for six weeks in November and
December. The surfing competition takes place on the North Shore
and is spearheaded by the Association of Surfing Professionals
World Tour and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Maui offers a
range of special events all year, from golf to culinary themes,
according to Kelii Brown, director of public relations for the Maui
favorite is Hula O Na Keiki [childrens hula competition], which
helps perpetuate the Hawaiian discipline of hula and instills
Hawaiian values in our children at a very young age, Brown
It also helps our
visitors understand that hula is ... a way of communicating and a
way of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture.
A Hula O Na Keiki
Room & Hula package is available at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel
during the event, which takes place in November and includes
accommodations, reserved seating for each night of competition, 30
resort dollars to spend at the hotel and an event
Another favorite event, held in
September, is LifeFest Kapalua, regarded as Hawaiis premier health
and wellness event because of Mauis reputation as a haven for the
wellness movement, Brown said.
The biggest golf
competition on Maui, which boasts its own roster of signature
courses, is the Mercedes Championships at the Kapalua Resort, a
tournament which was held earlier this month.
events include Maui Chefs Presents at the Kaanapali Beach Resort,
with packages available at participating properties.
The PGA Grand
Slam of Golf, held annually at the Poipu Bay Golf Course, is one of
Kauais most important events and one that agents use to sell
travel, according to Edie Hafdahl, director of sales and marketing
for the Kauai Visitors Bureau.
The event is
scheduled for Nov. 21 to 23 this year.
The tournament, a
36-hole, stroke-play event conducted over two days, features a
purse of $1 million. The headquarters is the Hyatt Regency Kauai,
with other area accommodations available through the Poipu Beach
reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].