FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHAT'S NEW IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS – APRIL 2012
Experience what's new with Hawaii's events and attractions, developments in the islands, accolades, and transportation updates.
EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS
- This May, Hawaii’s unique culture will be front and center during Mele Mei a monthlong festival dedicated to Hawaiian music and hula. Enjoy the refreshing sounds of some of the islands’ top recording artists in hotels, restaurants and on beaches throughout Waikiki (Oahu). In its second year, the festival has grown to encompass several other key Hawaiian music and hula events including the Hawaii Book and Music Festival from May 5-6 and the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Festival on May 25-27, which preludes the 35th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards Show on May 27. For more information, visit MeleMei.com.
- In celebration of Lei Day in Hawaii, the annual International Waikiki Hula Conference held on Oahu has been moved to May 11-13 this year coinciding with Mele Mei, a month long tribute to Hawaiian music leading up to the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards. Dancers of all experience levels from around the world and state are invited to attend and choose from 80 workshops and seminars taught by 40 of Hawaii’s top kumu hula (hula teachers). Classes will cover all aspects of hula and Hawaiian culture, from making an authentic pau lai (ti leaf skirt) to learning hula or an oli (chant). This year’s conference will also feature an international-juried Hawaiian quilt competition, drawing from submissions from around the world. For more information, visit WaikikiHulaConference.com.
- Join seven-time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong and friends during a three-day triathlon training camp from May 26-28 at the oceanfront resort Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on Hawaii Island. Aside from the opportunity to train alongside one of the world’s greatest athletes, breathtaking scenery abound will allow participants a change of pace with options like swimming in the 80-degree crystal clear Pacific Ocean or the resort’s private 25 meter lap pool, running throughout the resort grounds along paths fronting the beach or circling ancient Hawaiian fishponds, and cycling through the island’s vast fields of lava rock. For more information, visit SBRWithLanceandFriends.com.
- The Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii (NELHA) offers a new tour at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park on Hawaii Island allowing visitors a first-hand look and taste of the innovative products and technologies being cultivated using the island’s surrounding natural resources. The tour begins with a short presentation of how warm surface seawater and cold, deep ocean water are used to do everything from make electricity and grow wine grapes to cultivate the tender Ezo (Japanese Northern) abalone. Guests then visit an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant, Kampachi Farms to see Kampachi (Amber Jack) and other fish including gigantic grouper with mouths larger than a watermelon, and the Big Island Abalone farm where farmers show how four million cold water abalone are hatched, cultivated, graded and shipped. A tasting of both smoked Kampachi and grilled abalone are served during the farm tours. This tour is offered for a limited time on Fridays at 10 a.m. For more information, visit NELHA.org.
- Keauhou Beach Resort on Hawaii Island offers two new island inspired eateries for visitors hungry for a simple yet fresh meal. Beach-goers at neighboring Kahaluu Beach Park can take a break from the sun and refuel at Kalanikai Beach Bar open daily from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Menu options include salads, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers made with 100 percent local Hawaii Island beef and include tasty twists like the Paniolo burger with bacon, onion rings, pickled onions and pepper jack cheese topped with barbeque sauce. Guests can also enjoy a refreshing midday tropical cocktail or locally brewed beer. At Kamaaina Terrace, the dining options have expanded to include weekend dinners from 5:30-9 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday where diners can get a taste of the island’s fresh fish, local beef and Hawaii-grown produce without emptying their wallets. For more information, visit KeauhouBeachResort-Hawaii.com.
- Beginning in May, a new restaurant Café Julia will be open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch in the historic YWCA building in downtown Honolulu on Oahu. The menu will offer fresh and wholesome dishes available to the general public for dine in or take out. For more information, visit YWCAOahu.org.
- Gene Simmons, leader of the classic All-American rock band Kiss, has plans to open the second location of his new restaurant concept Rock and Brews on Maui later on this year. The grand opening for his inaugural location in El Segundo, Calif. takes place this month. For more information, visit RockandBrews.com.
- During deluxe morning snorkel cruises with Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides, guests now enjoy grass-fed beef burgers from Hawaii Big Island Beef’s ranch in Paauilo. Other locally-sourced products aboard include Fair Wind’s own 100-percent Kona Coffee and fresh papaya from Fair Wind’s farm. For more information, visit Fair-Wind.com.
- Lora Piana, the world’s largest manufacturer of cashmere, will open its first Hawaii store this fall at Royal Hawaiian Center on Oahu. The 2,705-square-foot, two-level flagship store will offer exclusive garments and elegant lines designed for men, women and children, along with home furnishings, accessories and gifts all made at the company’s facilities in Italy. For more information, visit RoyalHawaiianCenter.com.
- On April 15, Mokulele Airlines launched one daily flight from Lanai to Maui’s Kahului Airport, and two from Kahului to Lanai. offering the only nonstop service between Maui and Lanai. For more information, visit MokuleleAirlines.com.
- GreenCar Hawaii is reving up its engine in 2012 by expanding service of its self-serve, electric vehicle rental model on Kauai and Oahu. GreenCar Hawaii currently offers a green airport shuttle service on Kauai for guests of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and Pure Kauai and will soon expand its operations to Koa Kea Hotel and Resort by providing two hybrid electric Ford Escape SUVs onsite for visitors to rent. They also plan to launch service at Equus Hotel and Marina Tower on Oahu in the next few months. For more information, visit GreenCarHawaii.com.
- Interisland carrier Island Air is spreading its wings this year with the addition of three ATR 72-212 aircrafts to its fleet scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2012 and three more ATRs in 2013. For more information, visit IslandAir.com.
- Honolulu (Oahu) and Lahaina (Maui) are two of the best beach destinations in the world as voted by travelers on TripAdvisor in the 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Honolulu earned the No. 5 spot for the Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States and placed 15th on the world list while Lahaina was close behind at No. 8 in the U.S. and No. 19 in the world. For more information, visit TripAdvisor.com.
- With spring well underway and summer just around the corner, hitting the beach seems to be on everyone’s mind. If you’re looking for family-friendly beaches, take your cue from Family Vacation Critic, which named Waimanalo Bay Beach Park on Oahu No. 1 on its list of the 10 Best Beaches for Families because of the “sugar soft” sand and “calm waters for tiny swimmers.” For more information, visit FamilyVacationCritic.com.
- Oahu’s critically acclaimed Chef Mavro restaurant added another score to its list of accolades by being the only Hawaii location to be included on Gayot’s 2012 Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. Receiving a 18/20 rating, Gayot notes that Chef George Mavrothalassitis’s inspiration comes from the bounty of Hawaii’s ocean and land. For more information, visit Gayot.com.
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is contracted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state of Hawaii’s tourism agency, for marketing management services in North America. The HTA was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawaii’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs.