Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Hawaii 2000

Isles seek boost with
millennium events

Diamond Head will be the
center of festivities on
New Year's Eve

By Russ Lynch


Diamond Head will be lit up as the "Beacon of Hawaii" on New Year's Eve, kicking off a series of "Hawaii 2000" events aimed at bringing in tourists and former residents to boost the state's economy next year.

Broad outlines of the new Hawaii Millennium Commission's plans for 2000 were issued at a luncheon meeting at the Halekulani Hotel yesterday, presided over by the co-chairs of the commission, former Gov. John Waihee and Lynne Madden, executive vice president of Island Heritage, a Hawaiian publishing and product marketing business.

Also taking part was the Hawaii Attractions Association, whose member attractions are working with the commission to boost year 2000 visitor traffic.

Madden said details won't be refined until after a June 1 meeting that will get the ball rolling. However, she said, the aim is to bring 500,000 tourists to the islands next year, attracted by the theme "Hawaii 2000, the Dawn of the New Millennium."

Events proposed by the commission so far include:

Bullet The Diamond Head New Year's celebration, the last stop for a Millennium Television Network crew doing a 24-hour live broadcast to usher in 2000.

Bullet A February parade from the Kakaako Waterfront Park to Chinatown to bring in Chinese New Year. Organizers hope to have a world-record, 2,000-foot-long dragon dance.

Bullet A mass wedding ceremony on Waikiki Beach on Valentine's Day, where hundreds of couples will renew their vows.

Bullet The "Diamond Head Down" sky-diving event over Kapiolani Park and Wheeler Air Force Base in the spring.

Bullet A scuba-diving event off Waikiki in May to promote Hawaii as an ocean-activities destination.

Bullet Other sports events such as an international soccer tournament to mark the opening of the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park and a sports exposition at the Hawaii Convention Center.

The commission's program is scheduled to end with a year-end party at Waikiki Beach to see in the year 2001.

The volunteer commission, appointed by Gov. Ben Cayetano, consists of 11 at-large members and one from each of the counties.

Its goal is to increase visitor spending next year by $800 million.

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