Waikiki's New Engine

Rick Egged
Rick Egged
David Carey
David Carey

By Howard Dashefsky

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - It's a place known around the world, and a destination to millions of people every year.

But, for all its natural beauty Waikiki has been labeled as dated.

While other destinations such as Las Vegas and Orlando reinvent themselves, in some cases annually, this glorious stretch has remained largely the same for decades.

But the head of the Waikiki Improvement Association said finally, that's changing.

"It's fantastic," said Rick Egged. "I've got local residents who have lived in Waikiki for 20 years who come up to me and say this is the best it's ever looked, or we've live here for 30 years and it's never looked better."

With Outrigger Enterprises new Waikiki Beach Walk, Hawaii's economic engine has been more than just tuned up.

"It's been rebuilt," said Outrigger CEO David Carey.  "To hear the buzz in the community about what's happened here is great. The easy thing is to say it's so much better than it was, but not only that, it's better than we thought it was going to be."

The new Beach Walk project has brought in a new assortment of rooms, restaurants and shops.

And it was created to appeal not just to our island visitors, but to locals as well.

"Tourist destinations do much better when those who live here and those who visit here come to the place and have a good time so that's really part of our effort, and so far so good," said Carey.

And at the heart of the project is a commitment to keep it Hawaiian, according to Egged.

"The goal has been to soften the street scape in Waikiki to add the greenery and the flowers and the things that make Hawaii special and also to bring back our Hawaiian culture," he said. "And that's really great that we have that recognition of the importance of that Hawaiian culture."