Hawaii Visitors Spending 40% More, But Enjoying It Less?

Hawaii Visitors Spending 40% More, But Enjoying It Less

Between-the-lines insights into what’s really happening. With Hawaii arrivals down but spending way up.

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82 thoughts on “Hawaii Visitors Spending 40% More, But Enjoying It Less”

  1. Aloha …We visited Hawaii in May 2019 and found it very busy and expensive, but loved it… We are coming back in May 2023 and have found prices for, Hotels, cars,tours and most other things (we have already booked) to be at least 40% more then the last time we visited. With the fluctuating US$ against the AU$ it makes it hard to estimate the cost of this Holiday. But we are looking forward to it and will pay what is required to enjoy our stay. Mahalo

  2. There are some problems with this article.

    First, no marketing is needed and the state should not allocate one dime to any agency in light of our infrastructure shortfalls, lack of healthcare on outer islands, low pay for public servants, etc. The corporations that make profits on tourism should pay for their own marketing.

    Second, locals will not change or “shift on a dime” when travel is down. The mainland corporations that own airline, hotel, and rental car chains falsely represent Hawaii. They pay locals subsistent wages and take the vacation money off island for their shareholders. Do not confuse us with them!

  3. Let me get this right….most people in Hawaii want the tourist dollar and not the tourist…right…with the fees that are charged in Hawaii they should have the best school system, roads, infrastructure, airports and government….news flash we don’t need Hawaii and they do need us.

    1. It is attitudes like this that make you undesirable to those of us that live here. Anyone that thinks of themself as more important than us is definitely not going to feel welcome… and unfortunately ruin it for the tourist that Does have respect for the islands and it’s people.

      1. Right you are Chris but my take is the haters have an outsized voice on blogs and social media and don’t represent the many good people that don’t feel the need to throw stones at everyone and everything. Most of the tourists I encounter seem to be enjoying themselves. They are the reality. Not the handful that feel the need to criticize everything they see. Thousands of people come to Hawaii daily and have a great time, you just don’t hear about them.

  4. I’m just sick yet again about another article of how miserable it is these day to visit the Hawaiian islands. I have been saving for many years! Now most dont think it is a big deal to save for this trip, but for me it has be 8 years. 8 long years and I mean saving. Yet, i am still not ready for my trip even tho I have to save throu 2023 may. Most people have the money now to travel. I do not. Then I read these horrible posts about the travel issues, etc. I read daily how terrible the tsa lines are for return flights home. I read where local hate tourists no matter what our reason for being there. I read, I read, I read, and I weep. Social media has destroyed the world.

    1. SSANDI, social media is most definitely not the real word. There is a real world in Hawaii with a huge array of things to do, people that are warm, nice, sharing and full of Aloha. You can come here and have a great time. Most of social media posters opinions say more about them and who they are posting about. You can fly to Hawaii on Hawaiian or Alaska and have a good travel experience and Hawaii offers a multitude of experiences if you come without the negative baggage social media folks try to put on others. Crime is not rampant here and locals don’t hate tourists.

    2. Don’t let them get you down. We regularly visit Maui and enjoy it every time. The effects of service industry (low) staffing is about the only inconvenience (just be patient, understanding, and tip well those who try hard). We’ve had no issues with anti tourist sentiments. Things aren’t cheap, but it’s a great place.

      1. Aloha Mike, Nice post, your perspective is the healthy one. As a result you and so many others have a great time in Hawaii and “get it”. Like everything in life you can focus on what’s wrong and that’s what you get, or you can focus on what’s good and that’s what you get. Hawaii still has a lot going for it and will get better if the haters stay away and people like you and the many others on here with similar posts keeping returning as they say they will.

    3. So oak media has ruined the excitement to travel to new places. There is so much out ther on YouTube you can basically visit without going. There is no mystery anymore of what you will see when you get there. When I first arrived on Oahu back in 89 from Boston that was the fun of being there. I moved there without a clue of what to expect. That won’t happen today.

    4. Have just returned from a lovely trip to Oahu. The airport renovation is almost complete and the experience there was a pleasant surprise. Rental car return, all the way to boarding went smoothly. We found reasonable places to eat, splurged in yummy meals when we close to do so, bought beautiful veggies and fruit at local farmer’s markets and relaxed on gorgeous beaches all along the North and Leeward shores for free. Certainly a lot of things (like car rentals) are expensive but with some resourcefulness and a sense of adventure, one can enjoy this beautiful island and bring some cash in your pocket back home! Please don’t be discouraged. Also, locals were friendly, generous and repeatedly told us to come back!

    5. SSandi,
      We were in Hawaii in late April visiting both Oahu and Kauai and had a wonderful visit as we have every time we have visited and we have visited many times, different islands each visit. Don’t let social media or negative comments in any outlet keep you from saving for your trip to Hawaii. We have always experienced Aloha on our visits. It’s a place like no other and you will be glad you saved and visited! ☺️

  5. Please stop thinking of hawaii as a “tropical vacation getaway”. When you do that you bring an entire incorrect mindsight with you. Also, if you dont like the cost, go elsewhere and stop complaining.

    1. Hawaii is not a “tropical island getaway”? Care to elaborate on that point a bit?

      Also, as visitors decline, the economy of Hawaii suffers. Hawaii needs visitors and should be listening intently to what its visitors are saying I would submit. Hawaiian government needs to reallocate (considerable) time addressing some of their own problems that are plainly evident on the islands and not bite the main source of income (tourism) that keeps the state going. In the meantime, has the state of Hawaii done anything to actively attract new businesses and/or industry to the islands in order to diversify their economy?

  6. We just returned from a trip in late June early July 2022 and I completely agree with the numbers posted in this article. We traveled from the east coast and definitely spent approx 30 percent more than previous vacations. ( We own a timeshare and travel eoy to Hawaii) Even with the fixed cost of the lodging and reasonable airfare (We booked airfare well in advance )other costs had skyrocketed (food, rental car , activities) One of my favorite things about traveling to Hawaii is the food and we felt the quality and selection had suffered post pandemic and was not worth the cost. ( Example family of four hula grill $375 with tip/ not worth it) We are definitely reconsidering future trips and felt we were price gouged on this trip.

    1. So many people have mentioned Hula Grill on various websites. We dined there this past April and were shocked by the cost for the quality. We will not be going back on our next trip. Many restaurants in that price range that are far better.

      1. Don’t know anything about Hula Girl but what you speak of is the reality of the post pandemic business here. Many businesses adapted and flourished and some didn’t. The survivors will be the well run businesses…. many that failed perhaps weren’t as good as their competitors? If businesses that let greed (gouching their customers, pocketing as much profit as they can as quickly as they can) overcome sound business practices (taking care of their employees and customers) maybe they should fail. Not to sound heartless, there were some businesses that failed through no fault of their own. But what’s left for them is a lot of opportunity now as everything resets going forward.

  7. I am Not hawking anything here (so don’t shoot the messenger) but the main advantage of our timeshare ownership is that it removed the cost of lodging on our recent trip (aside from the TOT). Minimizing (almost to the point of elimination) one of the three major costs of a Hawaii vacation (along with car rental and air fare) might allow us to return in 2023 and visit another island.

    Hopefully car rental will be much more sensible then too.

    If you (the reader) consider timeshare, be sure to buy Resale from a reputable party.

    Disclaimer: I am not in the timeshare selling business – I only make this point to illustrate one advantage and openly confirm there are some disadvantages.

    1. FYI: Consider looking into TUG – Tmeshsre Users Group – if even remotely interested in timeshare ownership. Educate yourself 1st. Our Timeshare ownership has made Hawaii vacations feasible. Do not EVER buy from a developer or during a TShare presentation. Often you can get one for free or nearly free. Sadly. They are lousy investment unless you
      actually use it.

      1. why oh why would you advertise TUG. Social media is destroying this world and one more refrral no matter how good they are is just what we do not needto ge tword around. TUG is doing greatly without your advertising. I am so sick of social media. It is the death of this world as we use to know it.

    2. Warren,

      We’ve had a timeshare on Waikiki for over 20 years and I don’t know what you mean about no cost of lodging. Our annual maintenance fee is about $200/night. That plus the amortized cost of the original investment (we bought our 2 weeks at big discounts – so, yes, over 20 years that part is cheap. But not those maintenance fees).

      See you in September.

  8. I thank you for all your information. I feel that Hawaii has made traveling overly complex. We still made our trip out 2-3 times a year even with covid. Jumped through the many hoops etc. So many comments from residents and travelers along with inconsistencies in communication from the state – just makes vacationing over complicated. We adore Maui, the Ohana experience, the pure beauty it truly embraces and we treated it with respect like our home. We came close for a 2nd time to move to the islands permanently. We decided on another tropical climate state. Leadership makes a difference. We will be back one day. Prayers and aloha 🌺

  9. Back in the 80s, the Army issued us little red or purple hibiscus stickers so we could get “kama’aina rates” locally, instead of what local everything charged the tourists.

    Has the practice of two-tier pricing gone away since then that they are looking at imposing tourist specific fees instead?

    1. Kama’aina pricing is typically only available at locally-owned establishments, in my experience. It is mostly offered at restaurants, and there are fewer that offer it than there used to be. There’s only one place I frequent that still offers it. It’s probably more common in Kahului and Wailuku than it is here in West Maui, and probably a lot more in Honolulu. There’s no mandate or rule, and it doesn’t apply at Target or McDonald’s or the grocery store, so while it is nice, it isn’t like there’s a secret economy we keep to ourselves.

  10. With hotels and car rentals up over 50% from previous trips we are looking at other places for tropical vacations. Air fare is covered with frequent miles, and package deals are still high.

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