Hawai‘i has long been one of Australia’s most popular holiday hot spots, but it’s now becoming a destination for sports fans with the number of Aussies travelling to Hawai‘i to watch or take part in a sporting event increasing 44 percent in 2015.
Speaking at a dinner in conjunction with the University of Hawai‘i’s Rainbow Warriors first-ever football game in Australia this weekend, Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania Country Manager, Kerri Anderson said Hawai‘i was primed to become an Aussie sporting destination.
“It’s no secret that Aussies love our sports and sporting related holidays are on the rise – whether it’s as a spectator or as a participant it is a market that we are keen to grow for Hawai‘i,” Ms Anderson said.
“We mostly picture Hawai‘i as a relaxing holiday destination, but an increasing number of Australians are an active part of the sports scene across the Hawaiian Islands.
“This ranges from participating in events such as Outrigger canoeing–where there are close to 80 clubs across Australia–to stand up paddle boarding races, open water swims, surfing championships, PGA golf, marathons and Ironman events, to going along to support friends and family and taking a holiday at the same time.
“A number of young Australian athletes have also been recruited to play for University of Hawai‘i athletics teams including water polo, basketball, baseball, softball, and of course football.”
Ms Anderson said HTO hoped that the University of Hawai‘i season opener against the University of California Golden Bears in Sydney, would peak peoples’ interest and encourage them to go and watch a game in Hawai‘i.
“Being Hawai‘i’s only football team, the University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors are hugely popular across the state. There is no better way to get involved with the locals than to see if you can catch a game at Aloha Stadium during a visit to Hawai‘i – or see other great college sports such as basketball or baseball.”
George D. Szigeti, President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, who is visiting Australia to meet with Hawai‘i’s key Australian travel partners and to attend the University of Hawai‘i game, said Australia is one of Hawai‘i’s most important international markets.
“It’s clear that Aussies love Hawai‘i, and we love having them visit and experience our Aloha Spirit, embrace our culture and enjoy our scenic natural beauty,” Mr Szigeti said.
“The laid-back and friendly personalities of the Australians is very much like how we live in Hawai‘i. I think that’s a key reason why Aussies tend to stay longer here than visitors from other countries. There’s a real feeling of kinship when they come here.
Market research shows that growth in travel to Hawai‘i from Australia is up 2.8 percent through the first two quarters of 2016, with more than 157,000 Australians visiting Hawai‘i compared to the previous year. In addition, spending by Aussies over that same timeframe is up 7.7 percent to US$397.6 million, – or around US$2520 per person.
Mr Szigeti noted that more than 45 percent of these visitors from Australia were returning to Hawai‘i for their second trip.
“Hawai’i continues to be one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations because there are so many new fascinating experiences to explore on our six beautiful islands. I think knowing there is so much more of Hawai‘i to discover is what keeps drawing our friends from Australia back. We look forward to welcoming them with aloha.”