Australians are spending big on Hawai’i holidays, forking out US$877 million on trips to the Aloha State last year. That was the essential takeaway from Hawai’i Tourism Oceania’s (HTO) annual Ohana Update, an opportunity for HTO Australia Country Manager, Kerri Anderson, to share the latest figures and plans for promoting Hawai’i in the coming year.
During a morning tea presentation on Monday 13 February amid the splendour of Sydney’s Primus Hotel, Anderson and Chris Sadayasu, Hawai’i Tourism Authority Brand Manager, provided a recap of 2016 performance and the major focus and initiatives for 2017.
According to preliminary 2016 data, the US$877 million figure was up 3.8% on 2015 spending, equating to an average of US$2614 per person per trip, according to new figures released by HTA.
Anderson said the results were a testament to the ongoing love the 335,753 Australians who visited Hawai’i last year had for the Aloha State.
Australia is Hawai’i’s third largest international market, which is quite astounding given our population size compared to other markets. Australians go back to Hawai’i again and again, with more than 46% of visitors on at least their second trip; I’ve met many Aussies who go every year.
The number of Australians who travelled beyond the gateway island of O’ahu also increased by almost 5% last year, a strong indication that our marketing focus on promoting the diversity of the Hawaiian Islands is working.
Kerri Anderson, Hawai’i Tourism Oceania Australia Country Manager
Anderson said Australians stayed an average 9.5 days in the destination all up spent around three million days in Hawai’i last year.
According to separate research into Hawai’i visitors’ travel preferences, conducted by Roy Morgan, when it came to where they stayed, Aussies preferred higher-end properties, with two-thirds choose four star or above on their last Hawai’i trip. Another surprising result was that shopping, which had long been the favourite activity for Australians visiting the islands, has now slipped to second position, with more Aussies listing ‘R&R’ as their top activity.
Travel agents continued to be the most important channel, with six out of 10 booking their Hawai’i holiday through an agent. Thirty-two per cent booked direct with tourism operators, 42% through an airline and almost 22% through an online travel portal such as Expedia.
The number of families holidaying in the state, including large groups of families and friends travelling together, is on the rise.
One of HTO’s key objectives for 2016 was to communicate that Hawai’i has so much more to offer beyond the expectation of sun, sand and sea that we do so well.
We showcased the depth and breadth of experiences across the neighbour islands by highlighting the dramatic geographical diversity, and also the great food, culture, history and range of experiences on each island.
We have been very fortunate over the last couple of years to have strong support from our travel trade partners, with a greater interest and awareness of Hawai’i’s unique attributes. Our trade partners are as import as eve in assisting us to give travellers a compelling reason to visit Hawai’i and in showing that Hawai’i is a value-for-money destination.
Kerri Anderson, HTO Australia Country Manager