The Australian love affair with the Hawaiian islands shows no sign of abating, despite the weakening of the Australian dollar.
Preliminary year-end statistics revealed by the Hawaii Tourism Authority at an event in Sydney yesterday showed that a record 333,998 Aussies visited the destination in 2015, up 7.8% on the previous year, with increased air services to the destination playing a major role.
The new Australia country manager for Hawai’i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Kerri Anderson said the results were testament to the ongoing Aussie appetite for travel to the destination, despite the challenges of the dollar.
“Australia is Hawai’i’s third largest international market, which is quite astounding given our population size compared to other markets,” she said. “Australians go back to Hawaii again and again, with more than 45% of visitors on at least their second trip so it’s heartening to see that the declining AUD hasn’t deterred them from choosing a Hawaii holiday.”
The falling dollar appeared to impact how much visitors spent on their Hawaiian holiday rather than the decision to travel there in the first place, with overall per person trip spend for the year down 5.6%, even though length of stay increased 2%. This trends was reflected in the rise in the number of Aussie visitors choosing to stay in condos, rental homes and bad and breakfast properties, although hotels remained the number one accommodation choice.
Aussies also looked beyond the traditional mainstay of Oahu, with a third heading to neighbouring islands during their trip. Maui was the second most popular island for Australians, with more than 61,000 visiting it over the course of the year.
“One of HTO’s key objectives for 2015 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,” Anderson said.
“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. This messaging was evident in our in market activities from consumer campaigns to trade and PR activities.”
Anderson highlighted the importance of the Australian travel trade in helping Hawaii overcome the ongoing challenges of the dollar.
“There is no doubt that with the Australian dollar predicted to stay close to seventy US cents for the foreseeable future, there are challenges ahead,” she said.
“Our trade partners are as important as ever 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.”
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