Honolulu is seeing a resurgence of the Hawaiian vacation industry, with hotels and resorts opening their doors to the public in an attempt to lure in new customers.
The latest sign of hope came Friday when Honolulu’s Hotel Hawaii opened for business for the first time in four years, bringing thousands of guests to the popular resort town.
The opening of the Honolulu resort comes amid a resurgence in the tourism industry, after more than a decade of declining revenue, and it also comes after a three-year shutdown that brought the industry to a standstill.
“I think the new arrivals are coming out of Hawaii, but they’re also coming in to Honolulu,” said Richard Fong, a hotelier who has operated in the city for a decade.
“They want to be close to family and close to nature.
The more we can provide, the more they’ll come.”
The hotel opened its doors on Friday to about 1,500 guests, who were given free entrance and parking, and were given complimentary Wi-Fi and a complimentary beverage.
The resort, which has been open since the late 1980s, is located at Waikiki’s central beach.
The resort opened to the general public in the spring and has been the subject of several reports of hotel workers stealing laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices, a condition that was addressed by the hotel in May.
Hilton Hawaiian Resort CEO Mike Hickey said the company will take care of the problem by paying staff, but that the resort will offer free Wi-fi to hotel guests and a beverage service at the hotel.
He said the resort is open seven days a week.
“We’re open seven nights a week, seven days per week,” Hickey told The Associated Press.
“We’ve always been open.
We’ve always offered free entry, but this time it’s something that is a little bit different.”
Hickey said he had heard from guests that they felt safer than in years past, but added that the hotel would continue to invest in security measures and will do whatever it can to help keep guests safe.
The Honolulu International Airport also closed in October to allow for construction on the new hotel, and officials said they have been working to re-open to the community.
The closure of the airport prompted the Hawaii Tourism Board to issue a moratorium on all future business, and in a statement to the AP, the board said it would be reviewing the situation.
The hotel is also hosting a balloon flight on Saturday, and Hickey expects it to generate more than $150,000 in revenue for the resort.
He did not provide a cost estimate.
“If you want to have a great vacation, you have to be at the top of your game, and Hawaii is the perfect place to be,” he said.