Editorials for Thursday — July 31, 2003

• Hotel occupancy

• Jay Furfaro

Hotel occupancy

Kaua‘i’s high hotel occupancy rate for reflects a booming visitor industry this summer. All indications show this is true, with crowded flights and roads, turn-away business at some restaurants and more hotel-type rooms available now that the Waiohai Marriott is open.

This upturn in visitor industry, along with the ongoing real estate boom has been good to retailers, especially car dealers, it appears. A report in Hawaii Business magazine shows over a 100 percent boost in revenue for King Auto Center, with the growing economy, and growing number of new residents with plenty of expendable income, providing the cash.

The downside is reports from owners of bed & breakfast establishments who are seeing little or no business. In fact, one Kapa‘a B&B owner decided to close down for the summer. We’ve also found out that some travelers who have been spending summers on Kaua‘i for years have put off their annual summertime visit due to high air fares. These symptoms show that the low-end segment of the Kaua‘i tourism marketing may be declining as the cost of visiting Kaua‘i rises.

These trends will be interesting to watch as me near the middle of the first decades of the twenty-first century. Generally, the economy of Hawai‘i has peaked at the beginning of decades and declined in the middle years, with hurricanes in 1982 and 1992 helping Kaua‘i along in moving down the ladder. This decade might break that trend. We shall see.

Jay Furfaro

Congratulations to Jay Furfaro on his retirement from the hotel industry. Furfaro came to Kaua‘i as a young man to work at the Hanalei Plantation Hotel from his home in Waianae in Leeward O‘ahu. Though he isn’t known best on Kaua‘i for his surfing abilities, at Mahaka he was a noted surfer. He became a member of the family of the Gomez family of Hanalei when he married Emma, and has lived most of his adult life on Kaua‘i working as an hotel executive.

Furfaro’s career as a hotelier has been a memorable and long one, and he departs with a reputation for friendliness for guests and his staff, and for bringing a special, authentic touch of aloha to his properties.

He now plans to focus on his position as a member of the Kaua‘i County Council.

Best wishes Jay on a fruitful retirement and for good health.


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