News Briefs 4-28-2006

*Back to the Beach
*Cruising to Brooklyn
*ASTA Adds Specialists

Back to the Beach

After weeks of unusually heavy rainfall across the Hawaiian Islands, sun-worshipers are back on the beaches.

The weather caused flooding, road closures and waste-water spills that resulted in several beaches, including Waikiki Beach, being closed to swimmers for several days. The State Department of Health reopened Waikiki Beach on April 4.

According to hotel and airline officials, the cancellations were few, and all of the islands are experiencing good weather. Airlines, hotels, cruise ships, activities and attractions are operating as usual.

On Kauai, which initially received the major effects of the bad weather, all beaches and roads are open.

“We’ve had beautiful sunshine these past couple of weeks, and the positive weather outlook going forward tells us that travelers can come here confident they will experience the Kauai they know and enjoy,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director for the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

The Aloha State is coming off a record number of visitors in 2005 and has seen similar demand in 2006 thus far.

Cruising to Brooklyn

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shared the stage with Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Lines, at the opening of the Brooklyn, N.Y., Cruise Terminal April 15.

The Queen Mary 2 sailed into the terminal that morning, disembarking passengers from the Caribbean and welcoming new ones for the season’s first trans-Atlantic crossing. There were no major glitches Marlow said, and the $56 million facility was ready for the QM2’s arrival, with only a few “touch-ups” left to do. A Web site has been set up with information on both of New York’s cruise terminals (Brooklyn and Manhattan), including schedules for all cruise ships coming in and out of the city.

ASTA Adds Specialists

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) recently announced that more than 400 travel agents completed the five-day, extensive in-country training program at the International Destination Expo (IDE) in Prague March 21-26, and are now Central European destination specialists.

IDE is a new show designed to immerse travel agents in the culture, attractions and travel business of each year’s chosen destination. The second annual IDE will be held on Jeju Island in South Korea, March 25-29, 2007, where agents will receive specialist training in destinations, such as Korea, China and Japan.