Hawai’i’s Latest Survey Bodes Well for Future Visitation, Despite Inflation

Last week, the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released the results of its Q4 2022 Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey (VSAT), which are encouraging despite the economic headwinds.

The study surveyed visitors from the eastern and western United States, Canada, Japan, China, Korea and Oceania who visited the Aloha State between October and December 2022.


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Interestingly, the majority of respondents said they were very likely to visit the Hawaiian Islands again within the next five years. In fact, over 60 percent of visitors from all of these source markets said they were “very likely” to return to Hawaii in the next half decade.

Responses from attendees were as follows: 80.6 percent of visitors from the Western United States (Hawai’i’s largest major market region) expressed an interest in returning to the islands, followed by 77.8 percent of visitors from Korea and 67.1 percent from Canada, 64.7 percent from the Eastern United States, and 61.6 percent from Oceania.

Visitors from all markets surveyed also reported overall high satisfaction with their most recent visit, which appears to mitigate the unsavory effects of inflation. However, the study also found that the top barrier to booking round-trip travel to Hawaii over the next five years for respondents across all markets continued to be the high cost of vacationing in the state.

Visitor satisfaction provides a key performance indicator (KPI) for the Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) strategic plan to guide the state’s tourism sector through 2025. Other KPIs include Average Daily Visitor Spend, Total Visitor Spend, and Resident Satisfaction.

Hula dancer on the beach at sunset
A hula dancer on Waikiki Beach (Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority)

The overall satisfaction of tourists from all the above markets remained consistently high throughout 2022, even reaching pre-pandemic levels. The proportion of travelers who rated their recent trip to Hawaii as “excellent” for each market was as follows: 87.5 percent from the Western US, 88.7 percent from the Eastern US, 79.5 percent from Canada , 79.5 percent from Japan, 75.2 percent from Oceania and 85.5 percent from Korea.

A solid majority of Q4 visitors from all markets surveyed said they were “very likely” to recommend the islands to friends and family as a vacation destination. The breakdown of survey respondents who described their recent Hawaii trip as “exceeded expectations” was as follows: 42.6 percent from US West, 51.3 percent from US East, 43.7 percent from Canada, 32.5 percent from Oceania and 68.0 percent from Korea.

“The expressed interest from visitors to return to Hawaii speaks to the quality of the experience provided by our industry and community partners, as well as the individuals who work with travelers across the state,” said John De Fries, HTA President and CEO. “We continue to educate visitors on how to travel mindfully, including ways to support local businesses, preserve our islands’ natural and cultural resources, and make meaningful connections.”

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