Island Aloha With Monthly Themes

Members of Kauai's tourism, government and business sectors are trying a new way to boost tourism and to unify their community at the same time.

By: Marty Wentzel

LIHUE, Kauai With Aloha! Visit Kauai, members of the Garden Isle’s tourism, government and business sectors are trying a new way to boost tourism and to unify their community at the same time.

The group, sponsored by the mayor’s office, County of Kauai, Kauai Visitors Bureau, Kauai Chamber of Commerce and companies around the island, is posting activities and events on its new Web site in hopes of reaching visitors and residents alike.

“We intend to support the businesses, community and county, while sending a message to the world about the quality of our island’s activities and attractions,” said Barbara Bennett, a spokeswoman for the group.

“The goal is to lengthen visitor stays, infuse the economy and give travelers a deeper, more meaningful and focused visit,” she said.

Bennett called the program “a powerful synergy of public and private sectors combining collective resources to achieve mutual goals.”

Credited as the catalyst and coordinator for the group, Bennett delivered the program’s draft to a small committee in 2000.

Two more years were spent in creating an annual event, called Kauaian Days, a nine-day celebration that was launched in 2003.

“Kauaian Days 2003 moved us closer to launching AVK,” said Bennett. “It was the first time the island had hosted such a celebration.”

The 2004 Kauaian Days celebration is scheduled Jan. 17-25.

The group’s Web site bills Kauai as the Island of Discovery. Supporting that statement, themed monthly events are being planned for Kauai for next year.

By referring to the Web calendar, clients can get help in choosing which month they want to visit, based on their leisure, professional or educational interests, highlighting local activities that they might not have known about without the calendar.

Month by Month

For instance, January is called the month of aloha. Special events planned during the month include Kauaian Days and a hula retreat.

During February, the month of romance, the group’s Web site encourages couples to visit for weddings, vow renewals and Valentine’s Day.

March, the month of music, includes a variety of Hawaiian song and dance programs including a festival and ball honoring Hawaii’s Prince Kuhio, who was born on Kauai.

April is dubbed the month of healing and wellness, with activities ranging from a Hawaiian healing arts conference to a March of Dimes Walk America event.

May, nicknamed the month of nature’s treasures, is timed with the island’s May Day celebration and activities will focus on Kauai’s environment.

Families are the focus in June, when special events center on sports that all ages can enjoy together such as hiking, boating, tennis, scuba diving, canoeing and golf.

In July, the month of heritage past, clients can attend a celebration honoring Kauai’s sugar plantation history, take part in traditional arts and crafts, and witness a Japanese obon festival, which honors the dead through dance.

August, the month of abundance, promotes the county fair, orchid show and Polynesian festival, among other events.

Kauaian arts take center stage in September, when visitors can attend various festivals focusing on the crafts, song, dance and food of the island.

During October, the month of festivals, clients can listen to music, enjoy hula, meet Kauai’s entertainers and see international films.

November, the month of sharing, focuses on such Kauai traditions as the Veterans Day parade.

December is billed as tropical holidays month, with gatherings such as the Festival of Lights in Lihue and the Fantasy Faire at Kilohana Plantation.

Bennett noted that the Aloha! Visit Kauai 2004 calendar is a work in progress. She urged travel agents to bookmark the Web site and check it regularly.

To support its efforts, the group has printed 11,000 posters that are being distributed at conventions and Kauai sales presentations.