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Friday, April 14, 2000

Tourism conference
to stress Hawaii’s
health benefits

By Russ Lynch


A tourism conference next month will address how Hawaii's healers can attract tourists to the isles and how local tour businesses can attract health-conscious people.

The goal for the health-and-wellness conference on May 22-23 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel is to bring together key people who can create businesses and products that will expand a largely untapped and potentially profitable niche tourism market, according to the leading sponsor, the Hawaii Women's Business Center.

The conference, titled "Making it Happen for Hawaii," hopes to get tourism and marketing professionals together with the practitioners and suppliers in the health industry, to develop ways to capitalize on Hawaii's long-held reputation as a great place to rest and recuperate.

"We can produce a new tourism product which has a low environmental impact," said Laura Crites, HWBC executive director. Crites noted that the Hawaii Tourism Authority considers health-and-wellness tourism development as a key strategy.

Joan Levy, founder of conference co-sponsor the Association of the Healing Arts on Kauai, said competition is keen from resort destinations outside Hawaii. "We can reach deeper into what it is that Hawaii has to offer," she said. "By doing so, we revitalize our economy without having to compromise the spirit of Hawaii's people and place."

Those who can gain from attending, the HWBC said, include health professionals interested in marketing their work to tourists, visitor industry operators who can learn to provide new services to their guests, ecotourism operators, and practitioners of spiritual and cultural traditions in Hawaii.

There will also be a trade show to promote Hawaii health products and services.

Key speakers will include Paul Pearsall, international speaker and author; pacemaker pioneer Earl Bakken, who helped create the North Kohala Community Hospital in Waimea; John de Fries, creator of the Native Son Business Group; and Bob Fishman, chief executive of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Other conference co-sponsors are the Hawaii Ecotourism Association, Five Mountain Medical Community and the Association of the Healing Arts.

The fee is $120 per person for those registering by May 1, and $145 after.

For information or to register, visit the HWBC Web site, call Crites at 522-8136 or write to Nancy Deeley & Associates, PMB 268, Kailua 96734.

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