Hawaii Is Fast Losing in Popularity: Why Many Travelers Say They’ll Never Return
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In recent months, Hawaiian authorities — and locals — have complained about excessive tourism, and their wish for fewer tourists is beginning to come true.
Just two months ago, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources announced that travelers must pay a fee and make an online reservation to visit the iconic Diamond Head State Monument to avoid crowds and appreciate the natural environment protection. However, this may no longer be necessary.
The Department of Economics, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) recently released an official report shows the results of a recent visitor satisfaction survey in 2022, and the conclusions were controversial: Travelers were extremely satisfied with their travel experience but didn’t want to return any time soon, mainly because of the high prices.
Travel to Hawaii is changing
During the pandemic, tourism in Hawaii has been vital to counteract the fallout from the global health crisis. Many visitors during the pandemic have been repeat visitors. And at the beginning of the year, from January to March 2022, this was estimated 75% of tourists were repeat visitors.
John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), explained why Hawaii became such a popular travel destination a few months ago: “A key part of Hawaii’s ongoing recovery is the increase in visitor satisfaction in the first quarter, which is attributable to the numerous, to the hard-working individuals in our community—from the flight attendants and receptionists, to the stewards of our natural and cultural resources, to the musicians and entertainers, to the shopkeepers and restaurant waiters.”
However, nearly 4,000 travelers were surveyed, and many visitors from the United States and Canada — who represent the majority of travelers visiting Hawaii — said they did not plan to return to Hawaii.
Despite this, 9 out of 10 said they would recommend Hawaii as a vacation destination to friends and family, Compared to the 2021 results, more travelers said they would never return in 5 years.
Why Travelers Don’t Return to Hawaii
Travelers from the US and Canada love Hawaii and nearly 90% rated their time in the destination as “excellent”. However, there are a few reasons why visitors won’t return:
- High prices: Hawaii has the highest hotel rates in the United States, averaging $371 per night. The luxury hotel average is $887 and Maui is the most expensive island. Also, gas prices are higher than the national price – that’s it over $5.60 per gallon in the last few weeks – and restaurants and rental cars are also expensive.
- Travelers can now visit international destinations: During the pandemic, Hawaii was the perfect travel destination not only because of its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and great attractions, but also because there weren’t that many alternatives. Now that travelers can visit more exotic and cheaper destinations, Hawaii has lost popularity.
- Locals don’t like tourists: There was a big debate about tourism in the archipelago. Locals and authorities have publicly complained about having too many tourists and a local a few weeks ago The mayor asked airlines to reduce the number of flights to the islands. Some travelers don’t feel as welcome or comfortable on vacation as they would like.
According to local website Beats from Hawaiilocal authorities and residents should be more concerned about why travelers aren’t returning, citing many reasons why returning guests are important: regular revenue streams for various companies in the travel industry, loyalty, and the fact that they’re more likely to pay for upgrades.
Authorities in Hawaii must now determine whether losing travelers’ interest in returning to the destination is beneficial or detrimental. John De Fries pledged to consider every aspect: “We want to foster the right balance in which Hawaiians, natural resources and culture can thrive and visitors can have a meaningful, enriching experience.”
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