Waikiki, Hawaii Waikiki, Hawaii

Hawaii's challenges post 2017

Despite record numbers of Kiwis to Hawaii last year, the destination faces three major challenges for 2018.

According to Roy Morgan research conducted in August-September last year, two top barriers for consumers are Hawaii being too expensive to get to and too expensive to stay.

A third key barrier was a lack of knowledge about the destination.

However, consumer awareness of Hawaii is strong, says Darragh Walshe from Hawaii Tourism Authority in Auckland.

‘Eighteen percent of people surveyed by Roy Morgan were thinking of travelling to Hawaii and 20% of people had been to Hawaii in the last three years.’

With airlift increasing by 49% from Quarter Two this year, consumers should see a reduction in at least one cost barrier – the flight.

Hawaii Tourism Authority’s strategy for 2018 will be to drive neighbour island and shoulder period visitation, and include an integrated campaign of consumer, trade, public relations, social media and business events.

‘We are broadening the brand to include food, culture diversity, outdoors and adventure,’ says Walshe.

New Zealand was the highest growth market outside of the United States last year with 68,481 visitors, up 5.7%, spending US$272 per day and worth US$1.03b.

Kiwi stays averaged 9.5 nights in 2017 (down 6.4%) with an almost 50/50 split of repeat and first-time visitors.

Eleven percent had multi-island holidays – visitation to the island of Hawaii was up 13%.