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Paradise is...a meeting in HAWAII.

It's no wonder more than half a million people visit Hawaii each year for conventions, conferences, and trade shows. An international business center where East meets West, Hawaii is an ideal location for meetings with a global focus, and the perfect place to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. Delegates are drawn to this full-service destination for its unparalleled beauty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a special hospitality that even has its own name: the Spirit of Aloha.

THE ISLANDS OF HAWAII

Each of the Hawaiian Islands makes a breathtaking backdrop to any meeting. And activities and attractions abound, creating incredible possibilities for pre- or post-functions and nontraditional meeting spaces.

The new $350 million convention center in Hawaii's capital city of Honolulu is the crown jewel on the island of Oahu. And in nearby Waikiki, convention-goers can enjoy some of the finest cuisine and entertainment around. More than two dozen resorts and 38,000 guest rooms can be found on Oahu's five surrounding islands, and each offers its own distinct culture and charm.

Maui, "The Magic Isle," is the site of Kaanapali, the world's first master-planned resort. Now it's been joined by two more exquisite properties--Kapalua and Wailea--and all three are ideal spots for groups large or small. The island is famous for whale watching, spectacular golf courses, and the awesome beauty of Mount Haleakala, a 10,000-foot extinct volcanic crater. Off the beaten path, the rural town of Hana has waterfalls and tropical jungles, and Lahaina's one-time whaling port is, now a quaint historical district.

Mother Nature shows her stuff on Kauai, Hawaii's "Island of Discovery" From the rugged Napali Coast to Waimea Canyon, the island features some of the world's most beautiful mountains and beaches. Major resorts and hotels at Poipu, Kalapaki Beach, Wailua-Kapaa, and Princeville together offer more than 4,000 guest rooms and some of the most picturesque golf courses in the world.

Hawaii's Big Island, as it's called, covers more than 4,000 square miles of stunningly diverse terrain, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the No. 1 visitor attraction in the state located in lush, tropical Hilo. The Kohala Coast on the island's northwest side boasts world-class resorts and meeting facilities--more than 3,700 rooms in all.

The smaller, more secluded islands of Molokai and Lanai offer great getaway opportunities for smaller gatherings. Elegant hillside lodges and beachfront hotels make wonderful spots for board retreats and strategic-planning meetings.

With its range of venues, Hawaii offers meeting executives the opportunity to get creative when it comes to conference planning. The American Association of Orthodontists, St. Louis, Missouri, for example, plans to convene on three different islands during its 2003 meeting. The group of 20,000 will begin its program at the Hawaii Convention Center before breaking away to neighboring islands for educational sessions--the goal being to allow attendees to experience as much of Hawaii as possible, while showcasing the special charm each island has to offer.

HAWAII CONVENTION CENTER: FORM, FUNCTION, AND THE FEELING OF PARADISE

Honolulu is already an impressive meeting destination, and the new convention center has made it all the more so. Opened in 1998, the Hawaii Convention Center is as dramatic and steeped in the spirit of the islands as Hawaii itself. Historians worked side by side with architects to achieve a contemporary Hawaiian sense of place: Landscaped grounds, terraces, and courtyards account for more than 6 acres of the 10-acre site, while inside, paintings of volcanoes, mountains, ocean, and waterfalls grace the walls alongside those depicting Hawaiian gods and myths. Rooftop canopies recall images of Polynesian sailing canoes and the first island settlers. But, best of all, the four-story facility ensures the utmost in convenience, flexibility, and state-of-the-art features.

The convention center's high-tech offerings include

* simultaneous multilingual translation in all major meeting rooms;

* satellite up- and down-link capability;

* the ability to support up to 400 computers in one meeting room;

* a connection to the Maui Super Computer, one of the world's most powerful;

* coaxial cable for video interconnects in all major areas;

* fiber optic and category 5 twisted-pair cable for highest speed and quality voice/data communication--no additional cabling required to access the Internet;

* pressroom with global links to any country in the world; and

* electronic message boards throughout the building.

The convention center can be adapted to accommodate the particular needs of meeting and event planners. The 200,000-square-foot, ground-floor exhibition hall is located just beyond the center's main entry and registration area to maximize its accessibility to delegates and exhibitors. The fourth-floor., ballroom offers more than 35,000 square feet of space under its 25-foot ceiling. It can also be divided into three rooms, each with its own food-service capabilities.

The center's 107,426 square feet of meeting room space can be configured into 47 meeting rooms, the largest with seating for 1,200. Two high-tech, multimedia presentation theaters offer tiered seating for more than 300 and 400 respectively, and an open concourse on the meeting level makes a refreshing change of pace for delegates between programs.
 HAWAII CONVENTION
 CENTER AT A GLANCE
Exhibit halls 200,074 sq ft
Meeting rooms 107,426 sq ft
Batlroom 35,990 sq ft
Lobby/prefunction 240,653 sq ft
VIP/boardroom 4,352 sq ft
Parking 260,000 sq ft


OTHER MEETING SPACES AND PLACES

The convention center is just one of many venues Hawaii has to offer. Within walking distance, Hilton Hawaiian Village offers 100,000 square feet of function space, the most of any Waikiki resort. And the llikai/Hotel Nikko Waikiki celebrated its 35th anniversary last year with a $2 million renovation of all 358 rooms in its Yacht Harbor Tower. This 800-room resort features 25,000 square feet of meeting space: a 15,340-square-foot ballroom, 11 breakout rooms and five multipurpose executive suites perfect for small meetings or entertaining.

The Outrigger Prince Kuhio on Oahu recently completed a $7 million renovation to all its guest rooms. As part of the refurbishment, the property expanded its business-service center to better meet the needs of today's executive travelers. Outrigger also just completed a multimillion dollar renovation of its Big Island property on the Kohala Coast: formerly known as the Royal Waikoloan Hotel, this 535-room resort is now called the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach and features stunning upgrades to its guest rooms, meeting facilities, and public areas.

Also on the Big Island, the Aston Keauhou Beach Resort completed a $15 million renovation last year, updating its guest rooms and suites.

This one-time vacation spot for Hawaii's royalty, located just a few miles south of bustling Kailua-Kona, is well-equipped to accommodate smaller groups of 10-500, indoors and out.

Two of Maui's five-star resorts also made recent enhancements that add to their appeal. The Ritz-Canton, Kapalua enhanced its outdoor meeting space with a 19,200-squarefoot pavilion, a permanent meeting facility with more than 5,000 square feet of function space surrounding it The layout accommodates receptions for 1,800 and theater seating for up to 1,500 Inside, 30,OQO square feet of meeting space includes the hotel company's largest ballroom, 10 permanent meeting rooms, and Maui's only amphitheater. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea added an artful gazebo with views of the Pacific and seating for a small group. Its Health Centre doubled in size to include state-of-the art weight training equipment and a shaded outdoor exercise space. The resort also features 24,000 square feet of indoor meeting and function space, as well as oceanfront luau grounds and lawns.

Hyatt Regency Maui is another beachfront setting for meetings and events, with terraces to accommodate up to 800 guests in addition to its 50,000 square feet of flexible function space, including six meeting suites, an elegant boardroom, and three ballroom configurations with large stage and state-of-the-art light and sound systems. This spring the resort will open Hawaii's first oceanfront spa, so convention attendees can unwind with fitness classes, martial arts, or a massage on Kaanapali Beach.

Also on Maui, the Outrigger Wailea Resort will undergo $25 million in major improvements in 2000, one in the company's growing portfolio of premier, full-service properties. A new 32 2,000-square-foot, garden court featurings a waterfall and koi pond will impress visitors upon entry, and will also serve as an outdoor breakout area for the Conference Pavilion The Pavilion offers three levels of flexible meeting and banquet space, including the newly renovated Lokelani Ballroom with hand painted murals and spectacular views of the ocean and West Maui Mountains. Additional ballrooms and 60,000 square feet of dramatic oceanfront property and garden lawns create opportunities for beautiful outdoor events. Other enhancements include refurbished guest rooms, new restaurants and lounges, and a water activity area for children and adults alike.

On Kauai, the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa's 65,000 square feet of function space includes formal gardens and five meeting rooms that can be arranged to accommodate anything from an intimate business meeting to a reception for 2,000. The Hyatt expanded its business center in April 1999 to include graphic design services, computer rental capabilities, and high-speed Internet access.

As an alternative meeting place, Molokai Ranch, set upon 54,000 acres of beautiful Molokai, offers a variety of meeting, training, and seminar facilities as well as the rustic luxury of Perfect for corporate retreats or post-function getaways, Molokai Ranch offers custom packages that combine business and pleasure, including team-building programs designed to bring people together in a relaxed and social environment.

MEA O HAWAII, OR "THINGS HAWAIIAN"

In addition to the wonderful and varied meeting possibilities in Hawaii, convention attendees confirm that the region's culture, history, and heritage add to the draw It's not surprising that many delegates extend their trips, or bring their families, with so many attractions and activities to enjoy The state boasts one of the finest museums in the Pacific--Honolulu's Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum--a symphony orchestra, opera, ballet, and art galleries, as well as a rich yearlong offering of native Hawaiian, Asian, and other ethnic events.

Like the meetings industry itself, hookipa (hospitality) and hanalima (working together) are the cornerstones of Hawaiian values. And this generous spirit comes through in everything from the traditional welcome garlands (leis) and tale-telling traditions to the open architecture and friendly atmosphere of the resorts and hotels.

The Ritz-Canton, Kapalua offers a "sense of place" tour through the Honokahua Preservation Site, highlighting the significance of the lush grounds to ancient Hawaiians and its role in today's Hawaiian renaissance. And many hotels are doing their part to preserve Hawaii's precious environment with recycling and environment-friendly programs. Sheraton Hotels in Waikiki, for example, was one of the first major recyclers in the industry, collecting more than 600 tons of glass and paper since the program began 10 years ago. Hyatt Regency Waikiki has gone paperless, conserving trees, energy, and water and preventing more than 60 pounds of pollution. And the Hilton Hawaiian Village recycles food and water from its restaurants to fertilize and help keep the pristine island's natural beauty intact.

GETTING THERE

Hawaii is actually far accessible than you may think Airfares to the islands have the lowest cost per mile of any destination--regular discount fares are available, and additional savings can be secured with wholesale packages for early-bird registrants. Hawaii is served by two international airports, Kona International Airport and Honolulu International Airport. The Honolulu facility is the world's 15th busiest airport and one of the largest in the United States. And Honolulu International Airport's sophistication as a travel hub makes things simple--23 major airlines serve the city from the mainland and account for more than 2,600 arrivals and departures each month. Travel time from the West Coast is about five hours; travel from the East Coast takes a few hours longer. But you re bound to agree Hawaii is well worth the trip.

Hawaii is a place that will dazzle, inspire, and unite convention-goers like no other. It's easy to see why ASAE chose it as the site of its own annual meeting in 2003. When it comes to the people, places, and meeting possibilities, Hawaii really is paradise.

HAWAII: FAST FACTS

Population: 1.2 million, including more than 800,000 on the island of Oahu

Area: 6,425 square miles

Capital: Honolulu on the Island of Oahu

Statehood: August 21, 1959

Currency: U.S. Dollar

Language: English

Miles of coastline: 750 miles

Annual visitors: 6.87 million

Average Temperature: 77 degrees Farenheit

Major airports: Honolulu International Airport, Oahu; Kona International Airport, The Big Island; Kahului Airport,. Maui; Lihue Airport, Kauai (neighbor island flights only)

Safety: Of cities with population more than 500,000, Honolulu is the No. 1 safest city. in the U.S. (Money magazine)

25 FUN THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII

1. Eat a roadside mango.

2. Visit Captain Cook's monument at Kealakekua Bay.

3. Taste ohelo berry wine at the Volcano Winery.

4. Whale watch along the Kohala Coast.

5. Stay in a tree house in Waipio Valley.

6. Mountain bike through fields of wild orchids.

7. Get beachfront massage.

8. Snorkel with turtles at Kahaluu Beach Park.

9. Sample saimin, a tasty broth of noodles, green onion, and Hawaiian fish.

10. Take the 11-mile scenic Crater Rim Drive around Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes.

11. Go nuts over the world's largest macadamia orchard.

12. Hike through a lava tube.

13. Spend a night in a "tentalow" at Molokai Ranch.

14. Catch the early morning fish auction at Kewalo Basin.

15. Test your wits with Konane (Hawaiian checkers).

16. See the flower farms in up-country Maui.

17. Watch sunset at South Point, the southernmost point in the United States.

18. Unlock the mysteries of old Hawaii's petroglyphs, drawings carved in lava rock.

19. Get a fresh fruit facial at the Sheraton Maui's Seaside Salon and Day Spa.

20. Visit the town of Waimea's Parker Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the United States.

21. Buy a vintage Hawaiian shirt.

22. Visit a noodle factory in Oahu's Chinatown.

23. Kayak the Kona coast.

24. Find the banyan tree Mark Twain planted.

25. Drink milk from a coconut.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Association Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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