Hawaii Vacation News for the week of June 11th

Hawaii is the Happiest State

A recent 2012 poll on happiness among the United States was released earlier this year, but in case you missed it, I will reiterate the results for you. For the third year in a row, Hawaii tops the charts as THE happiest state to live in. Some may attribute this to the amount of sun we locals receive, or the amount of time spent outdoors, it may even be related to the ocean activities many of us enjoy. But regardless of the factors, the general population in the state of Hawaii tends to be a happy bunch of people.

And in case you’re curious, here are the four runner-ups to the Aloha State:

  1. North Dakota
  2. Minnesota
  3. Utah
  4. Alaska

And the results for the UNHAPPIEST states are as follows:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Kentucky
  3. Mississippi
  4. Delaware
  5. Ohio

So what makes Hawaii locals such happy campers? Well, the telephone survey of over 350,000 adults evaluated the results with questions on work environment, emotional health, and self-evaluation. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index determined the outcomes based on a point system and many of those interviewed replied with positive answers and high points. Here is a little more on the project, taken off their website, well-being.com:

“The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® is the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. By interviewing at least 1,000 U.S. adults every day, the Well-Being Index provides real-time measurement and insights needed to improve health, increase productivity, and lower healthcare costs. Public and private sector leaders use data on life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access to develop and prioritize strategies to help their communities thrive and grow. Journalists, academics, and medical experts benefit from this unprecedented resource of health statistics and behavioral economic data to inform their research and reporting.”

Coconut Waikiki Under New Management

Joie de Vivre, California’s largest boutique hotel collection, is taking over management of its first Hawaii hotel, the Coconut Waikiki. Located a few blocks from Waikiki Beach, the hotel was previously managed by Aqua Hotels & Resorts under the Best Western brand. The transfer happened in February 2012, but won’t begin operations for the 125-room hotel until late 2012, after the property undergoes a $3 million renovation.

With 30 hotels along the U.S. West Coast, the Coconut Waikiki marks the first Hawaii hotel to be added to their collection. Joie de Vivre is known for “curating authentically local and eclectic experiences” for travelers seeking a unique vacation. Their catch phrase is “unique boutiques for the traveler with soul” and they feature programs like Green Dreams, where sustainability and environmentally friendly practices and policies are core, LGBT programs for guests who support the community, and Joy of Meetings programs for the business traveler.

The Waikiki Coconut hotel offers guests a variety of amenities, including complimentary deluxe hot breakfast, coffee, and tea services, complimentary Wifi, covered parking garage, coin-operated laundry services, dry cleaning, barbeque grill area, fitness room, outdoor pool, and more.

Permit Required for Beach Weddings in Hawaii

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the State of Hawaii has the right to uphold permit requirements for commercial beach weddings. In 2008 the state began requiring permits, but after a lawsuit with a group of Maui-based wedding planners (Laki Kaahumanu and Maui Wedding and Event Professionals Association), the regulations were up in the air. The group argued that the permit regulation violated the First Amendment, but “the ruling says the Aloha State’s permitting requirement serves a significant governmental interest by protecting more than 200 public beaches in the islands” –Associated Press.

What’s a commercial beach wedding? I guess this refers to weddings at beaches where a company operates business solely for weddings… Which would make any wedding at a beach “commercial” if there is a business involved. I was under the impression, however, that undoubtedly you needed a permit for weddings at any type of public gathering place, whether it is a beach, park, or library. I have also heard that these permits are very inexpensive, and that it is a venue option many couples are choosing to take, due to its cheap fees. The price for this permit is 10ç per square foot of beach, with average permits costing roughly $20. However, liability insurance is also required.

The state fought against the protection of public beaches and the crowding (of the beaches) for locals and tourists alike, while the Maui group fought against the State’s ability to arbitrarily revoke or cancel permits. While both are valid concerns, the ruling of the court ended up working out for both parties. Permits may deter folks from tying to knot on the beaches (helping to keep them less crowded, regulating commercial activity, and ultimately protecting our precious resource). These permits will also help the wedding planners in terms of wedding scheduling.

American Airline Cuts July Hawaii Travel by 1%

American Airlines, one of the busiest carriers of Hawaii visitors, plans to cut July capacity by 1%. This is due to complications with ongoing labor issues with the Allied Pilots Association. The Allied Pilots Association (APA) represents the pilots of American Airlines as a collective bargaining agent. With an abnormal number of pilot sick days being taken and high numbers of unanticipated pilot retirement, the airlines have also cut 1.5% of travel in June, with a similar pattern ensuing for July.

Flights will be cut from San Francisco to Hawaii, estimating 188 seats per day being cut in July. However, routes will be increased in the fall of 2012 with new Airbus A330 carriers for San Francisco-Hawaii flights. American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks states, “Our goal is to work with the union to reach a consensual agreement that supports the successful restructuring and enables our people to benefit from being part of a growing, profitable company.” The two parties are scheduled to meet in New York on July 13th for mediated talks, in the hopes of coming to some sort of agreement.