Decline In Hawaii Tourism Starts According To State

Decline In Hawaii Tourism Starts According To State

The signs have been on the wall for some time. The state has openly wanted it, and the islands concur; Hawaii needs less tourism to attain balance and sustainability. And the universe is responding to that request, which in the end, may not be exactly what Hawaii wanted after all. Time will tell.

Hawaii has been blessed with return visitors, more so than most destinations. In fact, during the first three months of 2022, it’s estimated that 75% of all visitors were returning rather than new. But that will change, and Hawaii will find itself in a highly competitive environment, unlike any time before. We discussed it well before the latest report came out: Why Hawaii’s Repeat Visitors Aren’t Returning – Does Anyone Care?

It is being reported now that this trend is already leading to fewer bookings, which in turn could also have side benefits for future visitors. The no-price-is-too-high plan for Hawaii accommodations, for example, looks like it is on the precipice of collapse. Much more reasonable rates may be returning.

BOH: We expect Hawaii accommodation prices to drop approximately 25% between now and this fall.

The state’s latest Visitor Satisfaction Survey was just released.

Data collected was from nearly 4,000 visitors between January and April 2022. Here are the takeaways and what we can expect going forward. You can also read the report below.

1. Hawaii visitors remain satisfied overall with their experience. In fact, about 90% both rated their Hawaii vacations as excellent and will recommend a Hawaii vacation to others. About half said that their trip exceeded their expectations. But, nonetheless, they’ll be returning in fewer numbers.

2. Cost is the number one reason Hawaii visitors won’t be coming back, as costs rose about 16% between 2021 and 2022. And we think that’s lower than reality. Adding to the dilemma are increased accommodations taxes (which are up 3% compared with last year), and ridiculously high car rental charges, too. Also, by way of annoyance, parking at Hawaii hotels has gone to as much as $65 per night, which we’ve never seen previously. Hawaii has had the most significant increase in cost compared with other worldwide visitor destinations. That’s followed by the perception of a lack of value, overcrowding, and other factors.

3. Post pandemic shutdown, visitors are more desirous than ever to visit new places. Combine that with the lack of an economic paradigm here in Hawaii, and a Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Mexico, or Australia vacation looks pretty good to many. While Hawaii vacations looked like a safe and sane bet a few months ago, international travel is on a rapid rebound pace. In fact, while Hawaii travel begins to wane, Europe is about to exceed all prior visitor numbers.

4. West Coast visitor return intentions dropped by 4.1% to 82.2% compared with visitors surveyed last year. In this annual study, this was the lowest return intention since 2016. East coast visitors are even less likely to return,  -6.6% to 66.6%.

Do you concur with the survey results? We look forward to your input.


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231 thoughts on “Decline In Hawaii Tourism Starts According To State”

  1. I am totally opposed to resort fees or any other additional charges for which one cannot opt out. We’ve stayed at Outrigger properties many times because they have not charged resort fees, but now I see they’re also doing it at the former Sheraton outside of Kona. I suggest the state pass a law requiring all of these ridiculous add-ons be included in the basic rate. Until they do, I will look for hotels without them or stay in condos. Thanks for letting me vent.

  2. I think your analysis is right-on. We had a lovely visit in March but spent a small fortune. It will be a long time before our family returns to Hawaii simply because that same amount of money could buy a luxury vacation practically anywhere in the world.

  3. Living here and working as a tour guide has been a challenge. Many locals do not understand that tourism brings in about 95% of our 75 billion annual income. It doesn’t matter what people do locals will always complain. Unfortunately Racism, violence, and intolerance are part of Hawaiian history. If you come to HI and explore Hana take a guide and avoid the drama.

  4. We love Hawaii, and had planned to return this fall. However, we decided to go to Cozumel where we can dive and everything else is half the cost. We will be coming back. Just not sure when.

  5. I have loved Hawaii since the first time I came over on the Lurline in 1961. My parents had been once before & wanted me to see the beauty & culture of the islands. We visited all parts of Hawaii, Maui & Kauai to experience the different climates & landscapes. It was then we found a little place called the “Hotel Hana Maui”. This little girl found her dream come true! Early morning rides with the paniolos, learning to hula & play instruments by the pool & bodysurfing at Hamoa. The people, kind & beautiful! I am now 70 years old & have returned to the islands nearly every year. Last time we drove to Hana was about 10 years ago…I prefer my memories of that little place. I will be back to the islands I love so much very soon…

    1. My father traveled on the Lurline in 1943 to work as a civilian on the ships and subs instruments in Pearl Harbor. Did not realize it was still being used in 1961…

  6. A Hawaiian vacation should not be cheap. Visitors don’t seem to understand that living here is expensive and becoming more so. Vacationing here will continue to get costlier as well.

  7. I agree! I have been coming to Maui for 42+ years now and I have been gobsmacked by the prices this time. I will be looking elsewhere in the future as I feel as though we can no longer afford to come here.

  8. I’ve been going to Hawaii since 1982 I was unable to go for 2 years to the covid. I just went and as much as I love the islands I was very disappointed by the Locals Attitude. I have always had positive experiences in the many many times i have been there. not this time. I was not made to feel welcome this time. I co-own a condo in maui & I’ve always felt blessed. ButI’m seriously considering selling. I felt like I was being taken advantage of and Definitely not welcomed. It maybe time to find somewhere where we are accepted. there are other Destinations that are just as beautiful.

  9. Hawaii has the same issues as most big cities worldwide. I see the issue maybe that Hawaiian politicians and those in the decision-making positions are not thinking like a business person. That is, give your visitors/customers what they want. Waikiki which is the district which generates the most cash flow for the entire state has three major problems in my opinion, 1. rising crime rates. 2. homelessness everywhere . 3. There is no late nightlife venues. They refuse to issue permits for new night clubs and or bars till 4am. If one is trying to attract business at an international level. And certainly trying to track business from the Asian region then your competing cities are all outpacing and out doing Honolulu/Waikiki tenfold. Thanks

    1. Funny how quickly we go from “Too many people like us, what do we do?” to “Not enough people like us, what do we do?” Although I agree with everything you are saying, you are speaking as if Hawaii doesn’t have enough tourists, and explaining the reasons why. Just yesterday, we were discussing Hawaii having too many tourists, because everyone likes it too much. The tides certainly turn suddenly.

      A healthy mix of tourists and residents is what we need, and it will always be a matter of opinion how much is too much and how little is too little.

  10. I love Maui. I have been 7 times since 2016. I felt like that’s where I belonged. My husband and I was there in March. Sadly I don’t know when or if I will return. We will be going to Virgin Island’s. I hope things turn around in Hawaii because it is a magical place. Mahol


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