Thursday, September 20, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Isle executives
pump ideas into
economy summit

Various factions try to
come up with a fix for
Hawaii's current crisis

By Rick Daysog

Saying drastic times call for drastic measures, local executives hailed a slew of economic stimulus proposals that emerged yesterday from Gov. Ben Cayetano's emergency economic summit.

The economic damage wrought by last week's deadly terrorist attacks, which crippled the nation's financial markets and brought air travel here and on the mainland to a near standstill, requires radical departures from past economic recovery plans, they said.

"I think all of the business leaders there were of the mind that this is an unusual situation that requires unusual solutions," said David McClain, dean of the University of Hawaii's business school, who was one of three dozen public- and private-sector leaders who took part in yesterday's meeting at the state Capitol.

"Certainly the specific (plans) are the right first steps."

Murray Towill, president of the 200-member Hawaii Hotel Association, said the group's recommendation to eliminate airport landing fees helps address the financial hardships faced by the tourism industry.

Hawaii's hotels have seen their occupancies plunge this week after the local, mainland and international flights were curtailed. The airline industry has announced thousands of job cuts, and carriers have said they may seek bankruptcy protection should the slump continue.

"We clearly need healthy, viable airline companies," said Towill, who did not attend yesterday's meeting.

"I think it's important for everyone to realize how serious this is and can be."

While it is difficult to gauge the long-term impact of Tuesday's attacks, Towill also believes it is important for state and visitor industry officials to continue to promote Hawaii as a safe haven for travel so that the current slump does not turn into a long-term problem.

Mitch D'Olier, chief executive officer of Victoria Ward Ltd., said he was as much impressed by the ideas proposed in yesterday's meeting as the resolve and unity expressed by participants.

"I saw leadership today. I saw togetherness across labor, business and party lines," said D'Olier. "It appears to me that Hawaii stands together in a crisis."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin