Family Affair

Recent media blitzes by the Big Island Visitors Bureau have been aimed squarely at families with children

By: Marty Wentzel

The Big Island Visitors Bureau is luring more vacationing families to the island by marketing value-added hotel packages and activities.

According to George Applegate, BIVB executive director, families have been a target market during recent media blitzes in California and Colorado, and the bureau is heavily advertising family travel in niche publications. “Summer 2003 looks fabulous, maybe one of the best summers yet,” said Applegate. “We attribute much of this success to family travel.”

Big Island accommodations making a play for families this year include Fairmont Orchid Hawaii, where the Ohana (family) package comes with the second room at half price, breakfast for two, the resort fee and two half-day admissions to the hotel’s children’s program. Nightly rates start at $339 through Aug. 31, and $297 from Sept. 1-Dec. 25 (four-night minimum). 800-845-9905; orchid.

Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Perfect Family package covers breakfast for two kids, a pair of children’s rounds at the seaside putting course and the resort fee. Good through Dec. 20, the rate of $299 per night for two adults and two children requires a three-night stay.; 800-HILTONS or 800-445-8667.

At King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, clients can book a connecting room at a discounted rate when the first room is booked at rack rates, which start at $135 per night through Dec. 19. 800-367-6060; www.konabeach Kona Village Resort’s family package provides a one-room hale (house) for four people and meals for the adults. Rates start at $1,515 for three nights, for stays through Nov. 22. 800-367-5290;

Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort is teaming with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society on marine science camps for kids ages 8-15. Families pay a reduced nightly rate of $119 when their child attends the camp, which costs $250 per resort guest.

Camps run June 15-18, July 13-16 and July 27-30. 800-462-6262; www.ohana

Mauna Kea Resort gives the second room free when the first is booked at rack rates (three-night minimum). 800-882-6060; www.mauna Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is promoting its Family Suites package, providing two rooms joined by an interconnecting door. 800-367-2323; www.mauna

" Now through Aug. 15, Jack’s Diving Locker is hosting Sea Camp Hawaii for children 8-18 years who already know how to swim. Its Scuba Camp is designed for kids 10-18 years, and Advanced Scuba Camp is open to certified divers ages 12-18. Each camp costs $200, and pre-registration is required. or 800-345-4807.

" Every Wednesday from 4 p.m., kids ages 8-16 can golf at Kona Country Club for $15 per person, when an adult companion plays along for $25 (through Sept. 30). or 808-322-2595.