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.
- Yaukuve Island, Fiji
- Florida Keys
- Woodstock, Vermont
- 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.