Tourism

Agents Continue to send clients to Hawai’i

Amy Bryant

Australians were captivated by the Aloha spirit in 2016. Not only did we spend an enormous US $877m on trips to Hawai’i, but we also prefer to book our Hawaiian holiday with a travel agent.

The data released by Hawaii’s Tourism Authority, recorded that Australian travel agents continue to be the most important channel for the whopping 335,753 Australians who visited Hawai’i last year, with six out of 10 bookings made through an agent. 42 percent booked direct with tourism operators, 42 percent through an airline and almost 22 per cent through an online travel portal such as Expedia.

Aussie holiday goers also spend big on the tropical island, with spendings up by 3.8 per cent from the previous year, equating to $US2614 per person per trip. It is clear we continue to love Hawaii with data recording it as our country’s third largest international market.

Torch Lighting in Waikiki on Sunset

Hawai’i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Australia country manager, Kerri Anderson said that 46 per cent of visitors are returning to Hawaii for at least the second time, and added that Australians stay on average 9.5 days and all up spend around three million days in Hawaii last year.

“The number of Australians who travelled beyond the gateway island of O’ahu also increased by almost five percent last year, a strong indication that our marketing focus on promoting the diversity of the Hawaiian Islands is working,” Anderson said.

“We have also seen an increase in the number of Australian families holidaying in Hawai’i and in the number of larger groups of families and friends travelling.”

Families with children increased from 23.3 per cent in 2015, to 26.7 per cent in 2016.

In previous years, shopping in Hawai’i proved to be Australia’s most popular activity, however in 2016, the top spot was taken by ‘R&R’.

“This is possibly the only indication that we have seen that the lower exchange rate is having an impact – Australians are spending less on shopping, opting instead to spend more time on the beach or by the pool, or reallocating their spending money to activities or dining out,” Ms Anderson said.

“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 Hawaii’s unique attributes,” Anderson said.

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