Hawaii's Slower Holiday Season Beckons Savvy Travelers

Hawaii’s Slower Holiday Season Beckons Savvy Travelers

While the rest of the US is expecting record-setting travel from now into the new year, Hawaii is not. In part as a result of fewer visitors to Maui following the August fires, and for other reasons, Hawaii tourism isn’t quickly recovering. As a result two things are happening.

First is that the upcoming holiday season will not see the normal number of Hawaii visitor arrivals. In fact, some industry folk have indicated that Hawaii may not return to where it was before the Maui fires for up to five years.

As we previously reported, the state’s Hawaii Tourism (DEBDT) showed an ongoing decline in visitor arrivals for the latest month reported. Most of it is seen on Maui as shown below.

Hawaii tourism improvement for year-end holidays not assured.

Beat of Hawaii editors’ friend Jerry Gibson, president of the Hawaii Hotel Alliance, expressed optimism of some improvement still, especially for islands other than Maui which has still not been able to recover from an ongoing decline in tourism. In the image above, it continues to be 50 percent of normal.

Hawaii deals are still possible for 2023 holidays.

With hotels having greater availability than in previous years, especially on Maui, it’s a great time to look for the most unusual, holiday deals in Hawaii. Check all sources and never hesitate to contact a property directly to see if better pricing is possible.

Airlines too have have some opportunities where you can get to Hawaii for less over the upcoming holidays, from now through January 1, 2024. As we pointed out earlier today, one of the best opportunities is to fly via Los Angeles all of the Hawaiian Islands. On those routes, we still find round-trip airfares starting at $300+, depending on date. Be flexible on dates to score the best prices. And start your checking using Google Flights.

Hawaii visitors and spending in decline.

That’s been the case for the past two months as Hawaii Tourism recently reported, “both visitor arrivals and visitor spending decreased for the second consecutive month” in the the aftermath of the August Lahaina fires.

Hawaii’s tourism slump continues.

The Maui fire exacerbated what was likely going to happen anyway. Hawaii tourism has finally been impacted by runaway costs. And those issues are just for starters.

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14 thoughts on “Hawaii’s Slower Holiday Season Beckons Savvy Travelers”

  1. I guess the aloha for Hawaii only is backfiring on Hawaii. Once upon a time aloha was for everyone. Biting the hand that feeds you is a tough path to take. Time for the people of Hawaii to live with their choices.

  2. If any of your family members or travel companions have privileges at the Hale Koa military resort in Waikiki I really urge you to take advantage of it. The rates are old fashioned low and affordable – even the most expensive ocean front rooms cost less that $400 a night and No fees except for parking which max out ~ $110 even for a 2 week stay. Great deal, gorgeous grounds, slightly dated rooms but a wonderful, safe place to stay.

    There are so many categories of eligibility it might really be worth the trouble of researching them.

    Best Regards

    1. *Addendum* Book early – a year out if possible, the facility has a 98% occupancy rate! However, there are always small blocks here and there and often at a discount if you’re flexible.

      Best Regards

  3. Sadly Hawaiian Airlines is not flying out of Brisbane, Australia anymore which makes it so much harder for us to get to Hawaii. The hotel prices have also increased so much, making it an unaffordable option for family holidays compared to Fiji etc from our part of the world.

  4. I don’t want to sound jaded but locals were so nasty in their comments after the fire that I just don’t want to visit Hawaii. And even though prices have dropped a bit, I can’t justify $500/night for a hotel or condo that’s a shrine to the 1970s.
    We went to The Algarve in Portugal in October and it was magical. $105/night for a suite. $825RT so I think we spent less in 10 days there than in Hawaii.

  5. I am supporting Maui in the month of December, for 12 days of glorious sunshine I am blowing my vacation wad in hopes that it helps keep working people with a decent paycheck when they need it the most I have worked my whole life in the service industry and unemployment doesn’t begin to cover expenses. I know I can’t make everything or every one happy but I do want to support those in need.

  6. It’s a shame. There was so much sympathy and goodwill toward Maui and Hawaii, generally. The fire was tragic, but the aftermath could have been so much better. Locals and the Maui mayor alienated the very people who could spur recovery. Now, I truly see Maui in 5 years with maybe half the population it currently has. It didn’t have to be that way. There were many people willing to pay even more after the fires just to help, but only if it was wanted. Now, I feel sympathy has wained.

  7. Maybe if Hawaii as a whole, can lower prices and make everything affordable, then there might be a chance that tourism can pickup.

  8. I agree Maui is dragging down the rest of the island tourism numbers, but deals for higher end resorts are not forthcoming. Oahu & BI are where the deals are to be found, but not through direct booking. Costco Travel is the champion when booking resort stay on either Oahu or BI. Most packages on Costco are loaded with perks resort daily credits, breakfast, free room upgrades and waved resort fees as a way to offset government fees & taxes. As stated in a prior post I got a deal so good on Costco for Hapuna Beach first week of December we couldn’t say no.

    1. Hi Richard.

      Enjoy your time at Hapuna! It seems you never know under which shell the best deal will be found. We’ve got an oceanfront deal for Oahu next week that we’ll write about, and it did not come from Costco.


      1. We’re not big Oahu fans fact is my hair had color the last time we stayed on Waikiki 30 plus years ago, so I will give you that island. But I will go toe to toe and deal for deal with you all day for BI & Wailea. Never been to Kauai so have to give you that one too…

  9. As you have previously mentioned Hawaii has had a fast room rate increase. The reason people are staying away is because this increase is greed based not on common sense.

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