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SURVEY SHOWS FLORIDA, HAWAII TOURISM INDUSTRIES OPTIMISTIC FOR '93-'94 SEASON

 SURVEY SHOWS FLORIDA, HAWAII TOURISM INDUSTRIES OPTIMISTIC
 FOR '93-'94 SEASON
 MIAMI, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Major conventions are already booking hotels on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for the end of next year while most Miami-area hotels report business as usual despite the hurricanes that devastated both states, according to a survey by the national accounting firm of Kenneth Leventhal & Company.
 Although rebuilding will take up to 18 months for the most heavily damaged Kauai resorts and those on Key Biscayne off Miami's coast, the Leventhal survey found that 85 percent of the hotel/resort executives, tour operators and airline management interviewed remain optimistic.
 "During the past few weeks, occupancy rates have soared due to relocated families and out-of-town relief workers," said M. Chase Burritt, a principal and director of hospitality consulting in Leventhal's Miami office. "But some hotels are experiencing cancellations in group bookings including properties in Coconut Grove that reported an immediate loss of $500,000 in gross revenues. With tourism accounting for $7.2 billion in Miami and $10 billion in Hawaii, it is vital that the industry remain strong in both regions to generate revenue for rebuilding," he emphasized.
 "In the next few months, hotels face a downturn in business as families return to their homes and winter visitors stay away mistakenly thinking the greater Miami vacation spots are out of business -- which isn't the case at all," he explained.
 Burritt said the survey found resorts on Key Biscayne seriously affected, including the top performing Sonesta Beach Hotel. "But the major properties are committed to snap back sooner than people think. While property performance may suffer a temporary setback, the underlying strengths of Florida's tourism market will assure the industry's quick recovery." In fact, Burritt pointed out that Hurricane Andrew had enhanced the beaches with new sand and the bridges to Key Biscayne remained intact.
 Over on Hawaii, the Leventhal survey found the tourism industry banding together to keep visitors on the islands, rerouting tours to Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii.
 "There will be no tourism on Kauai for the next three to four months, with a few lesser-damaged hotels reopening by the end of the year," said Kevin Mahoney, a hospitality consulting manager in Leventhal's Los Angeles office. The firm's survey of major players in the Hawaiian tourism industry found that even when properties reopen they do face major hurdles because of the extensive damage to the surrounding infrastructure and the retail businesses that support tourism.
 "Reopening one or two hotels will not be viable without the related visitor-serving attractions and amenities," explained Mahoney. "There must be coordination among the hotel and resort properties, businesses and the state to reopen at the same time.
 "Our survey found the island of Oahu almost sold out at this time. In addition, both Maui and the big island of Hawaii are experiencing the same hotel occupancy surge as the Miami area," Mahoney said. While our survey of the Hawaiian resort industry in 1990 indicated the market would experience an increasing oversupply of rooms, it is this oversupply that allowed the easy absorption of tourists to the other islands.
 "Another silver lining in the hurricane cloud is the boom in construction jobs as the rebuilding begins," he added.
 According to Mahoney, the Hawaiian Visitors Bureau estimates tourism in Kauai could face a $250 million loss this year alone, but it's too soon to tell how Hurricane Iniki will affect tourism on the other islands.
 "Any short term benefits gained by the relocation of residents and tourists will be offset by the impression that the hurricane may have left with potential visitors to the state," Mahoney said. "Tourists are inclined to think what happened to one island applies to all. But our survey respondents were pleased with the job the state is doing to convey the message that the other islands were, for the most part, not affected by the hurricane."
 Kenneth Leventhal & Company, the country's eighth largest accounting firm, tracks the hospitality industry worldwide. Recent surveys have looked at the hotel/resort industries in Mexico, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. A comprehensive report on the Hawaiian tourism industry is due in mid-November. The firm is known for its expertise in real estate and financial services. It has offices in 14 cities and is affiliated internationally with Clark Kenneth Leventhal.
 -0- 9/22/92
 /CONTACT: Karen Diehl of Kenneth Leventhal & Company, 310-457-3676/ CO: ST: Florida, Hawaii IN: LEI SU: ECO


GK-TS -- NY014 -- 2061 09/22/92 10:02 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1992
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