The falling Australian dollar (AUD) hasn’t dampened Australians’ love for Hawai’i, with latest figures revealing a third consecutive record-breaking year for Aussies visiting the island destination.
According to preliminary year-end statistics released by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, 333,998 Australians visited the Hawaiian Islands in 2015, an increase of 7.8% on 2014.
Hawai’i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Australia Country Manager, Kerri Anderson, said considering the substantial drop in the value of the Australian dollar in 2015, the results were a testament to the ongoing love Australians had for Hawai’i.
“Australia is Hawai’i’s third largest international market, which is quite astounding given our population size compared to other markets,” Ms Anderson said.
“Australians go back to Hawai’i again and again, with more than 45 percent of visitors on at least their second trip so it’s heartening to see that the declining AUD hasn’t deterred them from choosing a Hawai’i holiday.”
Length of stay was up two percent in 2015, with Australians staying an average 9.53 days in the destination. Expenditure was up by a marginal 1.7% to $802.26 million USD however overall per person trip spending was down 5.6 percent – an indication that the falling exchange rate had an impact on how much visitors spent rather than their decision to travel to the Hawaiian Islands.
Ms Anderson said one of the biggest growth areas was the number of Australians visiting the islands as part of the highly lucrative meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market – with a 44 percent increase in the number people visiting Hawai’i for business purposes such as conferences or corporate meetings.
While hotels remained the primary accommodation choice for Australians visiting in 2015, there was a 34 percent increase in choice of condos and a large growth in alternative options such as rental homes and bed and breakfast properties.
Almost a third of Australians also looked beyond O‘ahu for holiday experiences and visited a neighbour island, with Maui the second most popular, hosting more than 61,000 Australians in 2015.
“One of HTO’s key objectives for 2015 was to communicate that Hawai‘i has so much more to offer beyond the expectation of sun, sand and sea that we do so well,” Ms Anderson said.
“We showcased the depth and breadth of experiences across the neighbour islands by highlighting the dramatic geographical diversity, and also the great food, culture, history and range of experiences on each island. This messaging was evident in our in market activities from consumer campaigns to trade and PR activities.”
With Australians being avid sports fans and keen competitors, HTO also continue to promote key sporting events such as half and full marathons, triathlons and ocean swimming events, as well as professional sporting events such as surfing, PGA golf tournaments and ironman world championships.
“No doubt this is why we have seen a 44 percent increase in visitors attending or taking part in a sporting event in Hawai’i, and this is on top of significant growth over the last two years,” Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson attributed this third consecutive record-breaking year for Australians travelling to Hawai’i to a number of additional factors including the increase in air seats from both Sydney and Brisbane. As a result of the increased competition on the route, airfare prices were highly competitive, particularly during the second half of 2015.