“Spirit of Aloha Tour” bus launched today


HONOLULU, HI – Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha Tour launched today in San Diego, California with a Hawaiian blessing that included traditional chants, conch shell blowers, hula dancers, and musicians.

The blessing signaled the start of a 1,300-mile journey aboard a 45-foot-long tour bus emblazoned with tropical images of Hawaii, that brings the sights and sounds of Hawaii to eight cities across California, Oregon, and Washington. The campaign aims to encourage west coast residents to travel to the Aloha State in the coming year and stay at beautiful Marriott Resorts to be found on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii’s Big Island.

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“We are excited to launch Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha Tour,” said Ed Hubennette vice president for North Asia, Hawaii, and South Pacific, Marriott International. “Hawaii is the favorite vacation destination for people living on the west coast. Our message to them is that a Hawaii vacation is very affordable right now and offers just the right combination of relaxation and fun to rejuvenate and nourish the soul in these challenging times.”

To add to the excitement, American Idol Top 10 Finalist from Season 3, Camile Velasco of Maui, has signed up as the ambassador of aloha on the tour. Camile, who will be making public and media appearances, has recently produced a new music CD called “Koy,” which will be launched in March 2009. Her single, “Guava Jelly” can be downloaded on iTunes. Also performing on the tour is a hula halau, or troupe, from the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu.

The bus will stop at Costco Warehouses and call on key travel wholesalers, travel agencies, and meeting planners in each of the eight cities. “Costco’s travel division is one of our key travel partners, and we’re going to have a ‘Hawaii Day’ at Costco with the Marriott bus parked outside,” said Hubennette.

Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha Tour schedule is as follows:

January 12 – 15 San Diego
January 16 – 23 Los Angeles and Orange
January 24 – 31 San Jose, San Francisco
January 27 Sacramento
February 1 – 4 Portland
February 4 – 6 Seattle

General managers and directors of sales and marketing from each of Marriott’s resort hotels in Hawaii and the retail sales team based on the west coast will join Hubennette on the tour.

Marriott, along with partner Hawaiian Airlines, will be giving away trips to Hawaii for stays in its hotels as part of a sweepstakes program on radio and television.