Business/In Brief • Sept. 27, 2014

Economist sees positives for Big Island

KAILUA-KONA – An economist addressing a Hawaii County economic forum sees positive signs for the Big Island.

Tourism is flourishing in Kohala on the island’s northwest side, said Jack Suyderhoud at the 40th annual First Hawaiian Bank event.

“In talking with the people who are on the ground here, the hotel bookings are really good,” Suyderhoud told West Hawaii Today before his formal presentation at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “It’s a great destination. People with money are finding the properties here attractive.”

Some are buying property, said Suyderhoud, a professor of business economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Tourism arrivals fell at the end of 2013, he said, but they began to rebound in July. Even in some months when arrival numbers were down, spending was up, he said.

Building permits throughout the island continue to increase, Suyderhoud said. “The recent upswing suggests construction may finally be breaking out,” he said.

Only about 3,600 of the 11,000 construction jobs lost in the state because of the recession have been recovered, he said. On the Big Island, 900 of 3,000 lost construction jobs have returned.

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Company proposes test for Waikiki zip line

HONOLULU – A company is proposing a zip line over Hawaii’s busiest oceanfront resort area.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Waikiki Beach Activities Ltd. has proposed the ride over the oceanfront lagoon of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

The ride would start atop the hotel’s six-story parking garage, continue over Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon and end in a grassy area in front of a public parking lot.

The company has applied to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to set up a test line.

The land board on Friday was scheduled to vote on allowing a test in October.

Jerry Gibson of Hilton Hotels & Resorts says the company wants to test the concept to determine if it’s viable.