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Hawaii MICE Market Remains Buoyant

By James Wilkinson

Hawaii remains strong in the short-term for the Australian incentive and conference market despite a significantly lower Australian dollar and uncertainty in global financial markets, according to leading US operators.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Tower

“Forward bookings from Australia to Hawaii are strong through the Christmas-New Year period, but we are facing some challenges in 2009,” Hawaiian Airlines sales and marketing manager – Australia, Sherilyn Robinson, told SpiceNews.

“Together with our hotel and wholesaler partners, we are focusing on the value for money offered by the destination and the growing appeal of the neighbour islands, which offer some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the world.”

One of the state’s largest hotels, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, has reported a high numbers of Australian bookings throughout 2008, with the market up 40 per cent on 2007.

Hilton Hawaiian Village vice president – sales and marketing, Jon Conching, said the outlook remained positive, but admitted there will be come challenges in 2009.

“The Australian MICE market has shown growth in the last several years especially as the Australian dollar got stronger,” he said.

“This last year and a half have been fantastic for Australian bookings however we have seen a slight decline in future Hawaii bookings these past three months. Hawaii is always a big drawcard for Australians and even though the economy is slipping globally we will still get a fair share of bookings.”

Hilton Hawaiian Village has proven a strong player in the MICE market because of its facilities, includes the state’s largest ballroom.

“Hilton Hawaiian Village has the most complete and extensive portfolio of conference rooms and facilities of all types, including large outdoor lawns and small board rooms. Packaged Conference rates to include food and beverage, as well as meeting conference packages,” Conching said.

“The hotel offers special value to the Australian market and the market is important to the destination overall from both the FIT and MICE segments.”

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