Ilikai Hotel Reopened July 24
The 203-unit Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki, Oahu, ceased operations as a result of excessive operating losses. The company then announced plans to reopen July 24, following an agreement struck with the Unite Here Local 5 chapter, although a specific date has not been announced. The hotel will reopen under a new management team and operational structure. The majority of the employees forced to leave the property when it closed will be rehired. The Ilikai offers eight meeting rooms, a 9,400-square-foot ballroom and a restaurant.
Wyland Waikiki Hotel Reflagged as a Courtyard by Marriott
The former Wyland Waikiki hotel on the island of Oahu has been reflagged as the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach. The 400-room property underwent a major renovation in 2007 that refreshed all guest rooms and public areas. Amenities include an Italian eatery called Spada Bar & Restaurant, the Kimobean Hawaiian Coffee Company café, a business center, two swimming pools and a sundeck, the Spa Pure day spa and a fitness facility.
Hawaii VCA Offers Free Services to Groups
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has introduced Booking Advantage, a new program for meeting planners that allows groups with a minimum of 10 peak hotel room nights to choose a free service from a bureau member. More than 100 members are participating in the project. Services and products to choose from include Hawaiian-made cultural goods and destination management services.
Hawaii Legislature Overrides Gov. Lingle's Veto of Hotel Tax Hike
Last Friday, the closing day of the Hawaii state legislative session, Democratic lawmakers voted to override Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of a hotel room tax raise. The governor opposed the tax increase, claiming the decline in visitor arrivals would deteriorate further and jobs losses in the tourist industry would worsen. The state's transient accommodations tax now will go up by one percentage point, from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent, beginning July 1. The tax will increase an additional percentage point in July 2010, bringing the total occupancy tax to 9.25 percent. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the tax hike will generate approximately $88 million over the two years.
Hawaii Governor: 132 Meetings and Events Canceled in 2009
In a letter written last week by Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to President Barack Obama, urging him not to support measures that would oppose legitimate business travel, the governor revealed that 132 meetings and incentive trips have been canceled this year as a result of the economy and the backlash against company-sponsored meetings and events. The cancellations have amounted to a loss of 87,003 room nights and $58.8 million in direct revenue for the state. The total economic impact is estimated at $97.6 million, and the loss of 694 full- and part-time jobs within the tourism industry in Hawaii.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Reopens on Big Island
The 258-room Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Hawaii's Big Island reopened last weekend, following an extensive multimillion-dollar makeover of its guest rooms and Mauna Kea Golf Club. A new fine-dining restaurant serving American French cuisine was added, as were a new spa and a new golf clubhouse. The hotel had been closed since December 2006 to repair structural damages caused by an earthquake in October of that year.
New Head Chosen for Hawaii Tourism Authority
The Hawaii Tourism Authority has tapped Michael McCartney, a former Hawaii state senator and former chair of the HTA, as the organization's new president and CEO. McCartney replaces Rex Johnson, who resigned last October after pornographic and racist e-mails allegedly were found on his state-owned computer. McCartney will leave his current position as executive director of Hawaii's State Teacher Association and will join the HTA on April 6. According to MSNBC, he is expected to earn close to $250,000 in annual salary, though official figures have not yet been disclosed.