Hawaii Fails To Make 2023 Conde Nast Traveler Popular Destination List

Hawaii Fails To Make 2023 Conde Nast Traveler Popular Destination List

Today, Conde Nast Traveler published its list of domestic and international trending destinations for 2023. It was a big surprise to us that Hawaii did not make the cut. We’re sure the turmoil between the HVCB and Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement isn’t helping matters. Or a proposed fee of $50 on Hawaii arrivals. If there’s a drop in visitor traffic, who knows, maybe the state will pay the $50 to visitors instead.

This report listed the “10 places that are quickly growing in popularity with American tourists for vacations in 2023.” That was based on a trending destinations report from American Express Travel based on recent travel bookings by their cardholders. Conde Nast said, “Each of the 10 locations has seen significant increases in booking popularity with U.S. travelers between 2019 and 2022.”

While American Express is an important indicator, the list below has a few odd surprises. The only US destinations are the Florida Keys and Woodstock, Vermont, “the prettiest small town in America.”

Top ten 2023 travel destinations in the US and abroad, according to American Express and Conde Nast Traveler.

  1. Paris
  2. Yaukuve Island, Fiji
  3. Istanbul
  4. Florida Keys
  5. Lisbon
  6. Sydney
  7. Montenegro
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Woodstock, Vermont
  10. Mexico City

Is Hawaii trending down in popularity?

Has something happened to the seemingly never-ending love of Hawaii that has been nonstop for the past half-century when Hawaii became glamorized in the U.S. and worldwide?

In addition to everything else that defines Hawaii, what about our fascination with aloha wear, hula dancing, ukelele, tiki torches, slack-key guitars, and TV shows and movies about Hawaii? This has been going strong since the 60s.

Remember when United Airlines said Hawaii is “painted in every hue of the rainbow, flavored to every taste, guaranteed to relax. All you need to do is choose your island. The aloha spirit will do the rest.”

Could bigger issues and mixed signals precede a downturn?

So exactly where are we in terms of future demand for Hawaii travel? There was just so much coming into this spring and summer that Hawaii travel was virtually out of control, which was overwhelming for visitors and residents alike. But what about going into 2023? Believe us, everyone is wondering the very same thing, so you aren’t alone. This Amex/Conde Nast report just added fuel to our questions.

Reasons for the potential decline in Hawaii travel.

These are all of the things you already know. It includes ridiculous price increases in Hawaii accommodations, maybe first and foremost. Other expenses, have followed suit. And even while many airfares have remained stable, that largely isn’t the case except where there is the “Southwest effect.” Then there are other reasons, such as the distinct feeling that Hawaii doesn’t want as many visitors as it has.

Last week we reported that the likely incoming governor confirmed his intentions to implement a $50 Hawaii Visitor Fee & at the same time reduce visitors. This unfortunately may be antithetical to Hawaii finding itself listed in the Amex/Conde Nast Traveler article.

The Hawaii travel marketing mess doesn’t help.

If you haven’t been following this wrench in the Hawaii travel works, read our earlier post entitled Breaking: Hawaii’s Marketing Pivots To Native Hawaiians. Obviously, Hawaii’s travel marketing should help facilitate a symbiotic situation for both residents and visitors. At this point, however, the whole thing is still up for grabs. The state’s HTA and its HVCB partner are both deeply troubled organizations, while the new entrant, CNHA, remains an unknown.

Will visitors still choose Hawaii?

Of course, many will. When editor Jeff recently flew home to Hawaii on Southwest, he witnessed the sincere excitement felt by arriving visitors onboard a full flight.

But there are issues, including the perceived value that Hawaii visitors receive. And that comes at a time of cost-consciousness at a new level. Travelers want the best possible value for their hard-earned vacation dollars and Hawaii falls short in that perception.

We welcome your input.


Leave a Comment

Comment policy:
* No profanity, rudeness, personal attacks, or bullying.
* Hawaii focused only. General comments won't be published.
* No links or UPPER CASE text. English please.
* No duplicate posts or using multiple names.
* Use a real first name, last initial.
* Comments edited/published/responded to at our discretion.
* Beat of Hawaii has no relationship with our commentors.
* 1,000 character limit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

49 thoughts on “Hawaii Fails To Make 2023 Conde Nast Traveler Popular Destination List”

  1. Hawaii is all of the Wonderful and Amazing things that have been said of it, possibly much more. Covid is now a driving force for the reduction of Tourism, if not its demise, due to the Few but Vocal that have attempted to stifle all from coming. To those people I hope for their Success and to have them learn from their want and desire, without the needed Income someone needs to pay the bills. Hawaii is a Destination like few, but many exist, that can be delicious memories. Las Vegas should have such a Money Making Scheme like Hawaii, maybe a Bugsy Segal too! Many Other places to Vacation.

  2. Respect. Visitors need to be conscientious about locals having weathered the same pandemic, inflation, job issues, travel restrictions, etc. They need to remain aware of 2 things… first, the cost of living has Always been higher than the mainland. Which means those higher costs will be passed long to the visitor. And the local population needs to make enough income to sustain Their lives. Second… these Islands are special, requiring careful consideration of the perpetuation of the things that have always made Hawaii such an exceptional place to visit. And live. The slow but steady degradation of these ‘attractions’ will upset everything for everybody. Whatever it takes to save them. So, Respect… both ways.

  3. This article was exceptional, but also very disheartening.

    We’ve been to Hawaii many times, especially Maui. We love Hawaii! We are planning another trip in Feb 2023 – postponed twice (2021, 2022) due to Covid.

    When we first booked in 2021, our room rate was $338.00/night (plus 14.416 tax). However, our reservation for 2023 is now $447.00/night – same room, BUT a $63.00/night increase, AND with a tax rate of 17.416! The price today $489.00/night.

    Adding insult to injury, we will add another .35 CDN for every 1.00 USD to our already bulging holiday budget!

    And now another 50.00 USD visitor fee! Why? Do they even want us there? We’re all hurting right now! Again, why?

    Why haven’t world news networks picked up this story!

    1. There has been inflation around the world since the pandemic and Hawaii is no different. I would say that tourist industries have experienced even more inflation since there was such a long time that the government shut down our facilities. Hm, pretty much the only place with no inflation……China. Go figure.

      For the Canadian dollar, well Hawaii can’t help that…that is the fault of the global economy and the US so called administration and their rate hikes.

      Additionally, do not forget that Hawaiians were terribly hurt by the pandemic. The whole state was shut down.

  4. The $50. Visitor tax or fee is entirely unconstitutional. Hawaii is a State within the United States of America. You cannot charge me a fee or tax for visiting any State. That is literally restricting freedom of movement and will not fly in the courts.

  5. We have been going to Maui once or twice/year for 20 years and own 1 month of timeshare there now. Price increases over the last 5 or 6 years have been steep (meals, car rentals, and the odd night in a hotel), and we will now face a new visitor “tax”, new parking fees at beaches and denied access to some of our favorite beaches until after 10 AM (earlier is way better for snorkeling for visitors). Aloha has increasingly been replaced with a feeling we are impositions-ironically on a lifestyle only affordable with tourist dollars, I suspect. We will now go less if at all, depending on what alternatives exist and are more affordable (now way cheaper to go to Spain for beach time-with friendly locals, good and inexpensive food/hotels).

    1. It’s not our fault. It is the greed of government officials that allowed too much tourism and one crappy hotel after another. They made us bitter. We would love to have a manageble amount of tourism because this is our business. It is definately better than creating factories or other industries to make our living.

  6. Hi, I am from Germany and have traveled to Hawaii in 1991, 1993 and 2005 because I loved it so much. When flying to Australia recently I specifically chose the ‘long’ way just to add a week-long stopover in Hawaii. In short, I was bitterly disappointed. The famous ‘aloha spirit’ seems to have made way for commercialism & greed like in most places in the world, and often I couldn’t help but feel like a (cash) cow being led to the milking shed to have every last of my pennies drained out of me, sometimes openly, sometimes sneakily. Not nice, and for the first time departure day couldn’t come soon enough. Moving forward I’ll try to forget my 2022 stay but cherish the lovely memories if previous times instead…and not return

    1. Please define a “high quality” visitor. While you’re at it, please tell me how much I must allocate to my Hawaii vacation to qualify as a “big spender”?

      1. Look, the fact remains, this is a business, not just a charity. We need less crowds, less hotels, a more pleasrable experience for all. The only way to do that is to earn more per “item”. We need to pay to take care of our roads, beaches, etc. We can’t do that with hoards of low paying tourists who come here and litter, clog up the roads, go off of the hiking pathes and fall to their deaths…we have to pay for this…. Do you get it? It’s nothing personal. It’s business.

        1. Are you saying Sue that “high quality” visitors,I.e. wealthy, do not litter, clog the roads and wander off the hiking paths? Just wondering.

        2. With 1.45 million people living in Hawaii, we’ve EARNED the right to have decent roads and not some 3rd world country roads. Tourist taxes have increased exponentially over the last 10 years to the point that it isn’t any wonder people would rather go elsewhere. Our govt greed did this to themselves, yet we residents are still left holding the bag for dilapidated roads And infrastructure.

    2. Sounds like you’re wanting only the rich to come and enjoy the islands. If so, this is just another reason for people to go places where residents welcome all who want to enjoy themselves. Not just privileged. Most people that I know who can afford to travel virtually anywhere, would be appalled at this sentiment.

      1. Whether we like it or not, it’s mostly a fiscal issue. Businesses want to maximize profits. Thus they will cater to the wealthy if they can. The wealthy who couldn’t care less about having to pay an extra $50 to land at the airport or $20 to park at a beach. They don’t even blink at paying $1,200 a night at a resort, and are immune to what the locals think about them.. That’s the nature of tourism. Outsiders with money arrive at a desirable location and expect to be catered to. The local economy generally profits, but it’s never distributed fairly down the economic ladder. The big corporations (hotels, airlines, car rentals) retain the majority while the local workers scramble for the scraps. Colonialism redux.

      2. Seer comment above…..Tourism is a business for Hawaii, not a charity. If its a charity, there are a lot of other things we can do with our efforts than dancing hula and playing ukulele.

    3. Sounds snobbish and very elitist to me.
      Are you suggesting a class system to visit Hawaii?
      Money and respect doesn’t go hand in hand sometimes.

      1. I agree with you 100%. In fact, generally, the more rich people get the least respect they give. However, coming back to my many points. We are serving tourists to make money. It’s a business. We need to pay for our children, etc. If we don’t make enough for pour efforts, then we need to move our children to VEGAS! We need more money per tourist, less crowds, etc. Then, with less tourists, and people making a comfortable living, people here will bring back the Aloha spirit.

  7. Its the affordability factor that they also put in the category. With the current global inflation, Hawaii is not immune to these price hikes on top of the already expensive hotels and packages. Fiji is quite popular now within the polynesian triangle due its affordability that caters to all budget with direct flights from Los Angels. Followed closely by the Kingdom of Tonga yes its still a Kingdom according to my Tongan Father who recently visited whilst its barely changed since he left for Hawaii in the 70s, he noticed tourists from Japan and Australia which was non existed in his youth. Ecotourism is Tongas tourist magnet plus high affordability. As a full blooded polynesian I must say Hawaii will always stay as a vacation destination.

Scroll to Top