Australian and New Zealand travellers to Hawaii are staying longer and visiting more islands, according to new figures released by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) ahead of the annual ‘Ohana Update for Australian travel trade and media.
According to the preliminary 2017 data, length of stay was up 0.8% to an average of 9.65 nights in the destination.
Sightseers are increasingly travelling beyond the gateway island of Oahu, with neighbour island visitation growing 3% during 2017.
Overall visitation from the region has also risen, with 392,560 holidaymakers from Australia and New Zealand visiting the Aloha State last year, a 0.6% increase on 2016.
In total, Australian and New Zealand travellers spent around 3.78 million days in Hawai’i last year, 1.3% more than in 2016.
Hawai’i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Australia Country Manager, Giselle Radulovic, said the results are reflective of the influence of HTO’s marketing activities throughout the past year.
“One of HTO’s key objectives is to showcase the diverse variety of experiences travellers can enjoy across the Hawaiian Islands, as well as highlighting the amazing food and culture on offer in the destination.
“Each neighbour islands has experienced growth in visitation, with the Island of Hawaii and Kauai seeing a 13.7% and 10% spike in visitors respectively.
“These increases across the board demonstrate an appetite for the varied experiences available across the Hawaiian islands among consumers, 48.7% of whom are visiting Hawaii for at least the second time.”
“We are very fortunate to have strong support from our travel trade partners, and our partnerships within the industry are integral to our efforts throughout the year.”
Giselle Radulovic, Hawai’i Tourism Oceania, Australia Country Manager
Ms Radulovic also said that separate research into Hawai’i visitors’ travel preferences conducted by Roy Morgan reveals a surprising shift in the way holidaymakers enjoy their Hawaiian holidays.
“Romantic getaways have overtaken family holidays as the primary travel group visiting Hawaii, while multigeneration family groups are also gaining momentum as a leading travel demographic to the Hawaiian Islands.
“We’ve experienced a 2.6% increase in visitation from the 25–34-year-old age group, which shows us that destination is gaining momentum in the millennial market.
“As well as this, for the second year in a row, R&R has emerged as the most popular activity for visitors to Hawaii, followed by shopping and then dining experiences.”
Giselle Radulovic, HTO Australia Country Manager
However, several preferences measured in the research remained the same as previous years.
Travel agents continue to be the most important information and booking source for people travelling Hawaii.
Fifty-eight per cent book direct with travel agents, 38.3% percent through an airline, 33.6% book their accommodation direct and almost 26% through an online travel portal.
Guests of the event at Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour’s Q Dining heard about the latest figures and trends over two-course lunch inspired by the tastes of the Hawaiian islands. Mains presented a choice of corn-fed chicken, grilled king prawn, sweet corn and edamame or pork fillet, macadamia cream, pickled cabbage and pineapple salsa, while dessert was either mango and coconut mousse cake or macadamia ice-cream with lime curd, pineapple and taro.
In honour of the Hawaiian heritage of the Mai Tai cocktail – first served in its current incarnation at The Royal Hawaiian hotel in Waikiki in 1953 – guests were given a Royal Mai Tai recipe card to recreate the classic cocktail at home.
Lead image: Napali Coast, Northwest Kauai © Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson