Friday, November 16, 2001

Matson to pay for
isle trip giveaways

Shipping company will give
$120,000 to boost Hawaii tourism

By Russ Lynch

Matson Navigation Co., the mainland-Hawaii ocean freight line whose fortunes are directly tied to the ups and downs of the Hawaii economy, is launching a tourism promotion that it says should bring mainlanders to Hawaii, fill some hotel rooms and help the biggest segment of the economy.

Matson will contribute $120,000 to a campaign valued at 10 times that amount, working with Aloha Airlines and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, to give away free trips to Hawaii in the first quarter of next year from key West Coast markets.

C. Bradley Mulholland, San Francisco-based president and chief executive officer of Matson, told a news conference in Gov. Ben Cayetano's office yesterday that the promotion will provide more than 100 free round trips to Hawaii, including Aloha flights from the West Coast and stays in Starwood hotels.

Mulholland said that working with San Francisco Bay Area radio stations and Southern California television stations to promote the giveaways will get huge exposure for Hawaii at a time when it needs it most. Matson bought the mainland-Hawaii tickets from Aloha and the Starwood hotel rooms, but there will also be an interisland component, aimed at island residents, for which Aloha is donating interisland travel and Starwood is donating the rooms.

"Matson and A&B (company parent Alexander & Baldwin Inc.) have a long history of giving back to the community," Mulholland said. The new program is just an extension of that policy, he said. Matson really had its roots in Hawaii tourism, he said. The company was the original owner of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki and ran passenger cruise liners between the mainland, Hawaii and the South Pacific from the 1920s to 1970 before becoming strictly a cargo operation, he said.

After the news conference, Mulholland told reporters that Matson's view is that "if the Hawaii economy does well, we do well," and boosting tourism is a way of boosting the economy.

The program will start in January. Two Bay Area radio stations will promote "a trip a day" giveaways in broadcasts from the islands. Los Angeles cable television stations will promote the program by airing more than 18,900 promotional spots in a four-week period, reaching 2.4 million households. In Hawaii, radio and television promotions will give away 22 interisland trips to local residents. California radio and TV together will give away 60 vacations, each consisting of two round-trip coach-class airline tickets and a hotel room for two people. In Hawaii, radio and television promotions will give away 22 interisland trip packages to local residents, each consisting of two round-trip Alaha tickets and a hotel room..

Five vacations for two will be given to AOL Travel to give away through America Online. Matson said it is also working on online auctions and other Internet methods to sell 25 Hawaii vacations with all the proceeds going to Hawaii charities.

E-mail to Business Editor

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

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin