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Big Island's Four Seasons Expands

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Big Island has expanded their amenities to include a new oceanfront seafood restaurant, ULU Ocean Grill & Sushi Lounge. Following the trend of farm to table dining, 75% of ULU's menu comes from local farmers and fisherman, with over 160 different seafood and produce sources that are straight from the Big Island. Seating up to 195 people in the restaurant and an additional 32 in the sushi bar, ULU also boasts an original Hawaii themed coffee bar named Hawaiian Coffee House. Regional Vice President and General Manager of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Robert Whitfield states, “ULU pays tribute to the beauty, bounty and spirit of Hawaii Island.” With its wooden furniture, open-air seating, and oceanic touches within the décor, this restaurant is a fine addition to the Four Seasons chain. “This new and stylish dining experience offers a number of ways to enjoy a meal — be it loungy and social, or quiet and romantic — all following our commitment to keeping it ‘regional, seasonal, artisanal’.” <!–more–>

Black Friday in Hawaii

It's that infamous time of year again, where people either wake up at the crack of dawn to wait in mile long shopping lines, or stay indoors all day to avoid the crowds and traffic. Either way, the day after Thanksgiving represents record breaking sales for many shops, boutiques, and department stores, so if you're thinking of doing your Black Friday shopping while on Oahu, you're in luck! Some stores are offering early Black Friday specials, with locally owned T&C Surf Design shops beginning their deals last week (on November 8th)! Why wait? Managers are already saying this sales strategy has been paying off for years.

Starting early is one way to beat the competition, and Charlene Calistro, operations manager for T&C states “This year we're definitely getting more aggressive because of our competitors. Everyone's getting aggressive, so we have to be aggressive as well.” The assistant manager at T&C Pearlridge, Geoff Oamilda says that in his six years of working at the store, this year is the most highly anticipated holiday season for shopping yet. In response as to why T&C has started their Black Friday specials early, Oamilda states, “I just think we want to capture the market sooner than our competitors. We have a lot of competition in this particular retail industry.” So get your head start with Christmas gifts and see who's starting their Black Friday extravaganzas early!

What “Off Season”?

September is the month that usually commences Hawaii's typical “off season” for vacations, but this season has proved to not be slowing down. Visitor spending during the month of September increased by 15.6% from the same month last year, which represents over $146.5 million dollars more spending in September 2012 than 2011. Because this month usually takes a dive for visitor spending, the recent increase has bumped overall spending for the state of Hawaii by 20% through the third quarter of 2012, according to initial statistics by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

HTA president and CEO, Mike McCartney states, “Double-digit increases in visitor expenditures across the four major islands and Molokai for September contributed to an increase of $1.7 billion, to $10.7 billion, in year-to-date spending over 2011. “While arrivals increased at a slower rate than recent months, we were extremely pleased that the pace of expenditure growth has not weakened.”

September marks the 11th consecutive month of growth from Hawaii's visitor spending, the largest source market in the state, increasing travel from the West by 3.1%. “As we head into the fourth quarter, we anticipate the momentum to continue with increases in airlift thanks to new routes by Hawaiian Airlines from Sapporo [Japan] and Brisbane [Australia], Allegiant Airlines from the West Coast, and Jetstar from Melbourne [Australia],” McCartney said. “These new routes are all servicing secondary cities, which will provide greater ease of access for visitors to come to the Hawaiian Islands.”

Possible Pilot Shortage

As thousands of pilots begin reaching the industry's mandatory retirement age of 65, a flood of new pilot positions will be opening up. However, new federal mandates being implemented for these new pilot hires may steer potential candidates away from applying for the job. One of the federal mandates will require pilots to have 6x the minimum experience than what was previously required. This may possibly trigger the largest pilot shortage since the 1960's for United States Airlines, writes the Dayton Business Journal.

“The Wall Street Journal also reports the federal mandates will require all newly-hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight experience, which will increase the cost and time it takes to train new pilots, while another federal safety rule that takes effect in 2014 will require airlines to give pilots more daily rest time, which is expected to force airlines to increase their pilot ranks by at least 5 percent.” Delta Airlines will need 3,500 new pilots within the next decade to keep up their current flight patterns, while American Airlines will be hiring 2,500 within the next 5 years and United Continental Holdings is now open for hiring.