During the past few months, Hawaiian authorities —and locals— have been complaining about over-tourism, and their wish of having fewer tourists is starting to come true.
Just two months ago, The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources announced that travelers would have to pay a fee and make an online reservation to visit the iconic Diamond Head State Monument to avoid large crowds and protect the natural environment. But this might no longer be necessary.
The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) recently published an official report showing the results of a recent survey for visitor satisfaction in 2022, and the conclusions were controversial: travelers were extremely satisfied with their travel experience but didn’t want to return soon, mainly due to high prices.
Travel To Hawaii Is Changing
During the pandemic, tourism in Hawaii has been crucial to counter the consequences of the global health crisis. Many visitors during the pandemic were returning visitors. And, at the beginning of the year, from January to March 2022, it was estimated that 75% of tourists were returning visitors.
John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), explained why Hawaii was becoming such a popular destination a few months ago: “An essential component of Hawai‘i’s sustained recovery, the increase in visitor satisfaction during the first quarter is attributable to the numerous, hardworking individuals in our community – from the flight attendants and front desk agents, to the stewards of our natural and cultural resources, to the musicians and entertainers, and the shop owners and restaurant servers.”
However, almost 4,000 travelers were surveyed, and many visitors from the United States and Canada —which represent the majority of travelers visiting Hawaii— stated that they didn’t want to return to Hawaii.
Despite that 9 out of 10 assured that they would recommend Hawaii as a vacation destination to friends and family, compared to results from 2021 more travelers stated that wouldn’t return ever nor in 5 years.
Why Travelers Won’t Return To Hawaii
US and Canadian travelers love Hawaii and nearly 90% rated their time in this destination as “excellent”. However, there are a few reasons why visitors will not be returning:
- High prices: Hawaii has the highest hotel prices in the United States with an average of $371 per night. Luxury hotels’ average is $887 and Maui is the most expensive island. Also, gas prices are higher than the national price —it’s been above $5.60 per gallon during the past few weeks— and restaurants and car rentals are also expensive.
- Travelers can now visit international destinations: During the pandemic, Hawaii was the perfect destination not only because of its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and great attractions but also because there weren’t as many alternatives. Now that travelers can visit exotic and cheaper destinations, Hawaii has lost popularity.
- Locals dislike tourists: There’s been a huge debate over tourism in the archipelago. Locals and authorities have publicly complained about having too many tourists and a few weeks ago a local mayor requested airlines to reduce the number of flights to the islands. Some travelers do not feel as welcome or comfortable as they would like to while they are on vacations.
According to the local site Beat of Hawaii, local authorities and residents should be more concerned about why travelers are not returning and stated many reasons why returning guests are important: regular income stream for different companies in the travel industry, loyalty, and considering that they are more likely to pay for upgrades.
Authorities in Hawaii must determine now whether the loss of travelers’ interest in returning to this destination is beneficial or detrimental. John De Fries assured to be considering every aspect: “We aim to foster the right balance in which Hawai‘i’s residents, natural resources, and culture can thrive, and visitors can have a meaningful, enriching experience.”
↓ Join the community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox
Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories