The Outrigger Marshall Islands is no more and hotel is renamed under new management as of Feb. 19.

Pacific International Inc. has acquired the controlling interest in the former Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort now known as the Marshall Islands Resort Hotel which it intends to upgrade.

Joseph “Jerry” Kramer chief executive officer of Pacific International told the Journal “The move was precipitated by Outrigger giving notice to the government of the Marshall Islands — which owned the hotel — that they would relinquish their management agreement due to breaches of the agreement by the government.”

Perry Sorenson chief operating officer of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts said the hotel in Majuro was at an age when repairs and renovations had become necessary. He told the Journal from Honolulu “Over the last several years we have been examining alternatives and working with ownership to fund some of the needed improvements — repairs critical to the continued marketing and operation of the hotel under the Outrigger brand — but for which funds have not been available. As a result we extended a transition period and a different ownership structure was eventuated.”

After purchasing controlling interest Kramer said Pacific International had hoped to keep Outrigger in place through either the Outrigger or Ohana brand but that the decision had already been made for the chain to sever its Marshall Islands connection. He said “There might be a chance for them to re-enter [the Marshall Islands] at a later date. We are in full operation. The transition was simplified due to the excellent trained local staff left by Outrigger.”

Outrigger might consider returning in the future Sorenson said. “We continue to refer calls made to our reservation center to the hotel and sincerely hope someday to return to the RMI. In the meantime we are proud of the progress we made in introducing the Marshall Islands to our global customers and guests.”

The Marshall Islands Resort Hotel would become part of a bigger plan Kramer said. “We intend to link it with our Guam property and possibly a Saipan property we are considering.” In December Pacific International purchased the secured bank notes for the New Century Hotel in Tamuning. The New Century closed on Dec. 9 due to forclosure.

“We intend to upgrade the [Marshall Islands] hotel ” Kramer said “And develop destination packages etc.” The hotel will continue to supply Aloha Airlines meals on the Majuro to Honolulu leg of the flight.

Sorenson said Outrigger had “thoroughly enjoyed” the seven years of partnership with the government in operating the resort and the partnership had been a learning experience for the chain. “The Outrigger Marshall Islands was Outrigger’s first foray into property management outside of Hawaii ” he said. “From the beginning we were guided by our orientation of recognizing and honoring the local culture and through that direction — and through the efforts of the Marshall Islands people in the hotel and the community we have been able to provide visitors an enriched destination experience that brings honor to the community. As well our experience had added much to our learning of managing hospitality enterprises throughout the Pacific.”

The hotel Sorenson said — in addition to providing accommodation — had become a community center for many civic and cultural activities. He said “We wish the hotel continued success and are proud that the professionalism and skills of the Marshallese staff at the hotel were sufficient to continue the operation of the hotel after our departure.”

Pacific International is no stranger to the hotel or the tourism industry.

Pacific International the largest construction company in the Marshall Islands built the Outrigger. Kramer is chairman of the board of Pacific Unique Travel Inc. and a member of the board of directors of Airline of the Marshall Islands. Pacific International also partners with the Rongelap Atoll government in a 19-cabin live-aboard dive boat.

The group recently expanded its already sizable commercial and real estate assets in Micronesia. In September 2002 the company purchased Nimitz Towers in Guam and Kramer also oversaw the purchase of 279 acres at Lao Lao Bay in Saipan in April 2002 the Servco and Camacho interests in the Majuro Shopping Center in 2003 and the purchase and shipment to Majuro of the fish freezer from Tinian Harbor in 2003.

The 150-room Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort welcomed its first guests on July 31 1996. Outrigger managed the resort on behalf of Majuro Resort Inc. established by the Marshall Islands Development Authority. Majuro Resort Inc. and the authority are wholly owned by the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The hotel was designed by architect David Tan of Hagåtña.

Outrigger manages three properties in Guam: the Outrigger Guam Resort the Ohana Bayview Guam and the Ohana Oceanview Guam and a variety of properties in Hawaii. The chain has in recent years been expanding its holdings and partnerships in Australia.

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is a division of Outrigger Enterprises Inc. the largest locally owned lodging company in Hawaii and one of the fastest growing lodging companies in the Pacific. Under various management contracts and its two hotel brands — Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Ohana Hotels in Hawaii — the company operates or has under development 50 hotels and resorts throughout the Pacific region representing more than 12 000 hotel rooms and condominium units in Hawaii Micronesia Australia Fiji and New Zealand. Outrigger’s affiliate Outrigger Lodging Services operates nearly two-dozen hotels and resorts throughout the U.S. mainland under a variety of brands. MBJ