Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Maui looks to
familiar spots
for tourists

The isle's ramped-up marketing
plan will focus on the West,
Midwest and Canada

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> Facing a decrease in travelers to the Valley Isle, the Maui Visitors Bureau plans to draw visitors from the western and midwestern United States, Canada and other Hawaii islands.

Bureau spokeswoman Charlene Kauhane yesterday said the goal is to keep Maui on the top of travelers' minds throughout the remainder of this year in regions where the Valley Isle has had the most visitors.

"This is where we think we can get our best conversion rates," Kauhane said. "We're going back to the people who would come to us first."

The bureau also plans to increase its participation in regional bridal shows in Denver, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago.

Kauhane said the bureau plans to spend $1.3 million of its $2.3 million annual budget from October through December.

Hotel occupancy on Maui is usually 65 percent in September but dropped to 50 percent following the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks on the East Coast.

Kauhane said the Valley Isle chose to focus on the western states and Canadian market because only 6 percent of Maui's visitors are from Japan, compared to a much larger percentage for Oahu.

But she said the Japan traveler is important and Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana will be traveling with a delegation of Hawaii mayors and governors on a promotional mission to Japan starting Sunday.

She said the bureau is for the first time targeting kamaaina travelers from neighbor islands.

The bureau plans to join the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau in a "media blitz" in California, Oregon and Washington.

Kauhane said the bureau's promotion will also include Molokai and Lanai as visitor destinations.

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