Thursday, March 6, 2003

Windward businesses
get new plug in
Koolauloa brochures

The Hawaii Ecotourism Association is launching a collection of one-page visitor guides concentrating on Koolauloa, the area from Kualoa to Kahuku.

"Ke Ala Moae -- the Tradewind Trail," discusses the district, while individual guides feature Kualoa and Kaaawa, Kahana, Hauula, Punaluu, Laie, and Kahuku and Malaekahana.

Each guide shares a concise history and highlights landmarks. Each lists "Things to do," "Places to eat," "Places to stay," "Things to buy," and "Important phone numbers" for camping permits, for instance. "Places to stay" includes accommodations, including campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts and the Turtle Bay Resort.

Eateries include the long-established Crouching Lion Inn as well as newer favorites like the shrimp trucks in Kahuku. Roadside stands and art galleries are listed among the "Things to buy" offerings.

Bobbee Mills is credited with having the idea for the guides many years ago after moving to the area from Manoa.

"Each little community has its own ambiance and identity," she said.

Mills is a past president of the ecotourism association but has been around the visitor industry all her adult life, teaching Hawaiiana to tour drivers for the state Department of Education and then serving with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau from 1975 to 1990.

"I was the vice president of visitor satisfaction. It's a fancy name for the complaint department, but I loved it," said Mills. She would make lemonade when visitors presented her with their lemons.

The Hawaii Ecotourism Association would like to get visitors straight to the lemonade.

The guides, to be available free throughout Koolauloa, are a "community economic development thing," said new President Annette Kaohelaulii. They will get visitors to the businesses, encourage them to talk with local people and enrich their Hawaii experiences.

Kaohelaulii, also president of small travel company Annette's Adventures, tells of pulling her car over to talk with a local man who'd strung squid from a clothesline on the beach. He told them he was drying it and that the finished product would be akin to beef jerky.

Her guests were fascinated.

"It's not all high-rise hotels in Waikiki," she said.

"Eventually we should do it for the area from Kualoa to Waimanalo, and from Kahuku to Haleiwa and Mokuleia," Kaohelaulii said. She encourages development of similar guides for the Waianae Coast and other areas too. "Maybe we can help them."

A product development grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority helped fund the brochures and a Web site, being created by students at BYU-Hawaii.

The brochures will be unveiled at a private reception March 15 at Kualoa Ranch.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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