Waikiki Beach

What Hawaii Tourism Rebound Means To You

Last month the State of Hawaii set a new record: 1.3 billion dollars in visitor spending. That was up 14% over the prior January thanks to an increase in the number of visitors (nearly 650,000) and dollars spent during their vacation. The unexpectedly good results were helped by a stronger than expected holiday season followed by the pent up return of large numbers of Hawaii snow birds.

So what does that mean to you and, most importantly, how to get to Hawaii on the cheap:

We are about to see more flights coming to Hawaii

You already know about the recently announced services from the east coast. In June, Hawaiian will start service between Honolulu and JFK and United will commence flying Washington, D.C. to Honolulu.

Beyond that, any day now, Allegiant will announce their plans for Hawaii service scheduled to begin this summer. That was due to be announced two weeks ago but has for some reason been delayed. I expect to see Allegiant Hawaii service from both California and Oregon.

There should also be more news upcoming from Alaska Airlines, as they continue to expand their Hawaii offerings. I was recently surveyed by Alaska and the nature of their questions leads me to speculate that more Southern California to Hawaii service will be on tap soon.

Southwest has been all too quiet about their Hawaii plans. They have already begun taking delivery of their new planes, and could announce at any point if they are so inclined.

More flights mean new airfare sales

While airfare deals are always tricky to find, more flights will mean more opportunities. On the other hand, with smaller planes, the airlines are in the best ever control of their inventory and ticket prices. So sales will remain short-lived. Knowing your availability and being ready to book within the first few hours of a deal is becoming even more important. When Hawaiian introduced their New York to Honolulu flight, they did so with a brief $212 one-way fare. That price subsequently doubled.

Hotel and car rental deals harder to get

With Hawaii expecting more visitors, it going to get trickier to find the best accommodation and car rental deals. Therefore we need to get even more creative. Consider alternatives to hotels including vacation rentals, and start looking for changeable hotel positions as quickly as possible when planning your Hawaii vacation. Don’t forget about Priceline too. It isn’t advisable to wait on car rentals bookings either, as they can become inordinately expensive or even sell out entirely.

Consider Alternatives

Are you willing to drive to a neighboring airport. It can often save you hundreds of dollars per person. Can your summer vacation be the second half of August? That is going to be much less costly than the first half. Flying inter-island? The time of day has everything to do with the ticket price. Are you flexible about your activities? Inquire and you may find that certain dates/times cost considerably less.

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7 thoughts on “What Hawaii Tourism Rebound Means To You”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I was surfing around for info on our June 20-28th trip to the Big Island and came across your wonderful sight. It is a virtual oasis of information on travel and it even appears to be objective.

    From what I read it seems if one is traveling to eh Big Island from San Francisco it is best to buy tickets now (at around $900/ticket from SFO and $647 from Santa Clara). Do you think any better deal will come around? Do you think Allegany will fly from California beginning in June? Might the airlines release a few lower priced tickets?

    Mahalo very much,


    1. Hi Michael.

      Mahalo for your comment. I think the price from SJC sounds great for those dates. Allegiant will probably not fly from nearby you and I don’t know if they’ll even be flying to the Big Island. For your dates, if it were me, I’d buy now.



  2. Jeff,
    Great information. I am planning a visit to the islands in September…20 year anniversary…going to visit Maui and renew vows. My family is pressuring me to fix a date but I’m holding out on airfare…I don’t think I’ll be able to hold out until June though….

  3. Hi, Jeff

    As a recent transplant to Hawaii your blog has been very helpful in finding info for friends and family to come visit. Thank you!

    I am looking to go to DC sometime this year and I don’t mind a layover. I’m wondering if you think airfare for HNL to east coast cities will go on sale any time soon, or are current prices pretty much as good as they’ll get? Thanks again

    1. @Eric: Yes, I think there will be sales to both of new east coast nonstop locations, DC and NYC. I’d wait a bit closer to the June start dates for those routes.
      @Patti. Welcome.

      Aloha, Jeff

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