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The Hawaiian Islands rated highly on variety of experiences according to Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey

Hawaii

Special section added on impact of Maui wildfires.

HONOLULU – The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) recently released the results of its Third Quarter Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey for 2023, which found that at least 95 percent of visitors from each geographic region surveyed rated the Hawaiian Islands as “excellent” or “above average” when it comes to offering a variety of experiences. Meanwhile, the majority of those surveyed ranked Hawai‘i as either “excellent” or “above average” in the number of different or unique experiences offered, including 98.7 percent of visitors from Korea, 98.4 percent of visitors from U.S. East, and 98.2 percent of visitors from U.S. West.

With visitor satisfaction being one of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s (HTA) four major Key Performance Indicators (KPI), these results showcase positive sentiment on activities and experiences being offered statewide. HTA’s other KPIs are resident sentiment, average daily visitor spending and total visitor spending.

Most visitors to Hawai‘i see the Hawaiian Islands as a destination that offers a variety of different and unique experiences, according to the latest Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey (VSAT), which surveyed visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Canada, Japan, Oceania, and Korea who visited Hawai‘i during July through September 2023.

More than 55 percent of visitors from each market surveyed indicated they were “very likely” to return to the state of Hawai‘i in the next five years, with the U.S. West, Hawai‘i’s largest major market area, leading the way at 83 percent. Nearly three-quarters (73.5 percent) of visitors from Korea, followed by 68.6 percent of visitors from Japan, are likely to return in the near future.

Repeat visitors from the U.S West, U.S. East, Japan, Canada, and Oceania expressed a greater likelihood of returning to the state than first-time visitors, and visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East, and Canada who visited a single island expressed a higher likelihood of returning to the state than those who visited multiple islands during their stay.

Every market that was surveyed attributed the high cost of vacationing in Hawai‘i as the biggest barrier to returning in the next five years.

Overall satisfaction levels among visitors from all markets surveyed remained high, with 90 percent of visitors from the U.S. East rating their most recent trip to Hawai‘i as “excellent,” followed by 88.8 percent from the U.S. West, 88.3 percent from Canada and Korea, 83.3 percent from Japan, and 76.4 percent from Oceania.

Nearly 60 percent of visitors from each market rated Hawai‘i as “excellent” in terms of being a safe and secure destination, including 86.5 percent of visitors from Canada, 84 percent from the U.S. East, and 83.4 percent from the U.S. West.

Hawai‘i exceeded expectations for many visitors, with 60.3 percent from Korea, 55.4 percent from the U.S. East, 54 percent from Canada, 47.9 percent from Japan, 47.3 percent from the U.S. West and 33.5 percent from Oceania indicating their latest trip “exceeded expectations.” Younger respondents (18-34 years old) from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan, and Canada were more likely to say their trip exceeded expectations compared to visitors from these markets in other age groups. Agreement with this sentiment tended to decline with age.

Special Section of Survey Added on Impact of Maui Wildfires

The August wildfires on the island of Maui destroyed homes, cultural and historical sites, and commercial businesses – including many visitor-focused restaurants and shops in the town of Lahaina in West Maui. A special analysis was conducted of data collected among visitors to the island from the U.S. West and U.S. East, the largest visitor markets for Maui. Visitors who traveled to the island after the fires took place were less satisfied than previous visitors. While more than eight in 10 visitors from these markets still rated their trip as “excellent,” nearly 1 in 10 visitors who traveled after the fires took place admit their trip did not meet their expectations.

“The study shows that depth and range of experiences that the Hawaiian Islands provide play a pivotal role in fostering visitors’ satisfaction with their trips and enthusiasm to return,” said Daniel Nāhoʻopiʻi, HTA’s interim president and CEO. “As we focus on tourism’s role in supporting Maui’s recovery, we will restore the demand for Maui by sharing the unique and attractive visitor activities across the island. Visitors will realize there is so much more to do on Maui.”

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