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Obama’s Visit a Boost for Hawaii Tourism
Hawaii tourism hit a rough patch last spring when Aloha Airlines ceased flying and various carriers dealt with shuffling routes and fuel surcharges. This had its effect on visitor arrivals to the islands. The latest tourism arrival numbers for Hawaii showed a drop of 14.2 percent in June from the previous year; the June decline in arrivals by air was the largest since January 2002.
Today, the Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that the recent vacation that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama took in Hawaii with his family is good news for the islands' tourism outlook. "The press coverage around the world has just been massive," said John Monahan, president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. "There's really no way we could have scripted it better: golf, bodysurfing, a picnic at Ala Moana Beach with family and friends. It was absolutely perfect for us."
Even though tourism officials are admitting that they won’t be able to match visitor arrivals with Obama’s visit, or track a specific bump in tourism, they characterize the presidential hopeful’s trip as publicity you can’t buy.
Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau Spreads the “Fiji Me” Message
The Fiji islands Visitors Bureau, Americas recently held a media luncheon in Marina del Rey at the California Yacht Club. California and the Pacific Midwest are Fiji’s strongest markets from North America. A lot of the conversation centered around Fiji’s new resort openings, which include the 275-room Intercontinental Resort Fiji on the Coral Coast’s Natadola Beach, slated to open in 2009. The current branding slogan “Fiji Me” was on display. “Fiji Me” was recently launched after extensive market research in Fiji’s three key markets of Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
Managed growth seems to be a key component of Fiji’s marketing program. The recently launched Tourism Industry Master Plan covering the period 2007-2016 outlines the country’s goal of achieving 1.1 million visitors by 2016. This target is predicated upon Fiji having around 17,000 hotel rooms, a 4 percent growth rate and sufficient air capacity. The Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau is working with industry partners at the local level to ensure this growth doesn’t compromise Fiji’s ecosystems.
Ilisapeci Matatolu, regional director of the Americas for Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau, addressed the group and shared some recent news and observations from the island chain. Here are some highlights from her speech:
* Last Year Fiji hosted around 545,000 tourists; 62,000 or 13 percent were from the U.S. this figure is currently showing an 8.9 percent increase in 2008.
*Fiji's current total room inventory of around 10,000 rooms represents 34 percent of the total room inventory in the South Pacific. In the last nine years, Fiji's room inventory has grown by 51.4 percent.
*Later this month, the Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau will launch a virtual destination guide on Fiji's best diving attractions on www.sportdiver.com.
ZipFiji Takes Travelers on Rainforest Canopy Ride
Fiji’s newest soft adventure offering is ZipFiji in Pacific Harbour. The three-hour rainforest canopy tour uses a zipline or aerial runway where guests will feel the rush of adrenaline pump through their veins as they move from platform to platform, 100 feet above the forest floor, with speeds reaching up to 37 miles an hour. A series of eight ziplines, many over 650 feet long, provides thrill seekers the chance to experience a side of the islands never discovered before.
Royal Lahaina Resort Completes Upgrades
The beach front Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui recently completed a multi-million dollar enhancement of its cottage rooms and family suites, featuring new bedding, linens, carpeting, bathroom amenities, paint and décor. Additional cottage refurbishment included installation of new outdoor carpeting on oversized lanais and upgrading individual air conditioning units.
The cottage project complements the property’s new $35 million luxury room upgrades in its Lahaina Kai Tower. The onsite amenities at the Royal Lahaina Resort also include two oceanfront swimming pools, a tennis ranch, two restaurants, three bars, a nightly torch lighting ceremony, oceanfront luau and complimentary scuba lessons.
Visit online at www.royallahaina.net.
ResortQuest Hawaii Promotes David Schneider to General Manager of Papakea Resort
ResortQuest Hawaii has appointed David Schneider general manager of Papakea Resort. He will be responsible for the daily operations of the 13-acre, 364-room resort located in Lahaina, Maui. Schneider was most recently the general manager at the Aston Maui Lu and oversaw the planning and implementation of the resort’s successful renovation initiatives. Schneider initially joined ResortQuest Hawaii in 2007 as rooms division manager for the Waikoloa Colony Villas where he improved the operational standards and guest experience through restructuring the housekeeping and maintenance departments.
The oceanfront ResortQuest at Papakea Resort is popular for family gatherings. Amenities include barbecue facilities, tennis courts and putting greens.
Fourth Night Free
Visitors to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island can enjoy the Fourth Night Free Promotion, available through December 15. Travelers will receive luxurious accommodations and complimentary fourth night with three consecutive paid nights. Guests staying in an Ocean-Front Room or a Four Seasons Executive Suite can choose one of the following: two rounds of golf per stay, or two complimentary spa treatments per stay.
VIP Golf Package
Visitors can experience the highly-anticipated Kapalua LPGA Classic on the island of Maui with the LPGA Classic VIP Package at the Kapalua Gold Villas starting at $495 per person, per night. The inaugural Kapalua LPGA Classic is scheduled for October 15 to 19.
The Kapalua LPGA Classic VIP Package includes five-night accommodations in a Kapalua Gold Villa, complimentary welcome amenity, two VIP tournament passes to an exclusive sky box located on the 18th hole, October 15-19, a one-hour golf clinic with an LPGA Tournament Professional at the Kapalua Golf Academy for two people. Package guests also receive a free $100 Activity or Food and Beverage Certificate, issued upon check-in, which can be used toward a variety of activities booked through The Villas’ in-house concierge or the new Kapalua Adventure Center, including a round of golf, in-room massage, snorkel sail, scuba dive and new Mountain Outpost activities. A complimentary Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation Tour is also offered. Package rates from $495 per person, per night and are valid for travel for a minimum five nights from October 14-20, 2008. Package rate is based on a 5 night package stay with double occupancy in a 1-Bedroom Fairway View Gold Villa and does not include tax.
Escape to Waikiki
The My Place-Waikiki Escape package includes accommodations at the Waikiki Parc Hotel, a bottle of Parc Chic Wine and hors d'oeuvres, breakfast daily for two at Parc a.m., and a dinner for two at Nobu Waikiki.
The package also includes admission to the Contemporary Museum, the Bishop Museum, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts and a choice of one of the following three activities: a 60-minute spa treatment at SpaHalekulani, a private lesson for two at Surf Waikiki, or a 24-hour GPS-guided tour of Oahu in a Lotus. Rates start at $999 per room for three nights in a mountain-view room; add $150 for ocean-view accommodations. Additional nights are $250 per room for mountain-view accommodations and $305 for ocean-view rooms. The package is offered through December 20. A three-night minimum stay is required.