Hawaii is doing fabulously on all fronts – especially from Australia. That’s the message from the famed Marble Bar at Hilton Sydney, where agents gathered for a night of Hawaii tiki and surf culture, hosted by the Hilton Portfolio of Hotels in Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Tourism Oceania and Oahu Visitors Bureau.
Chef Charles Carbonneau from Hilton Hawaiian Village whipped up an array of island-inspired dishes, while lucky door prizes included a luxury getaway to Hawaii. Akash Arora, features editor of Qantas Magazine, was the winner of that one.
Hawaii Tourism country manager Australia, Kerri Anderson, said Hawaii had welcomed a record number of tourists during the first half of this year.
Visitor arrivals from Australia rose to reach 157,744, she said, representing a 2.8% increase over the first half of 2015. In the month of June 2016, visitor arrivals grew by 3.9% to 30,786.
Aussies spend AUD 2520 a visit, up 5%, so tourism operators love them. So do the Hawaiian people, and the feeling is mutual.
“It’s not just a ‘fly, flop and shop’ destination,” Anderson said. Australians love surf culture. About 50% of visitors are first timers and there’s a very high re-visit rate, which speaks for itself.
It’s women who make the decision on visiting Hawaii, said Gai Tyrrell, Hawaiian Airlines regional director Australia and New Zealand. Research reveals women are the driving force. “Mum is making the decision!”
Hawaiian operates daily services from Sydney to Honolulu and four times weekly from Brisbane. It flies to Honolulu and beyond to the neighbouring islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island. Brisbane services are subject to seasonal variation, ranging up to five flights a week in October 2016 to three flights a week in November 2016 and also February through May 2017 (inclusive).
Hawaiian operates new 294-seat, two-class, A330-200 aircraft on both the Sydney-Honolulu and Brisbane-Honolulu routes.
Overall, tourism in Hawaii for the first half of the year is at an all-time high, and state officials say the destination is on track for another record-breaking year.
Tourism authorities predict that 8.8 million visitors could arrive in Hawaii from all sources by the end of the year. That would break last year’s record of 8.65 million visitors – which was the best result since Hawaii started tracking visitor arrivals way back in the early 1930s.
Written by Peter Needham