This past week, Hawai’i’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released the results of its Q4 2022 Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey (VSAT), which are encouraging, even in the face of economic headwinds.
The research polled visitors hailing from the Eastern and Western U.S., Canada, Japan, China, Korea and Oceania who had visited the Aloha State between October and December 2022.
Interestingly, the majority of respondents indicated that they were highly 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 Hawai‘i in the next half-decade.
The breakdown of participants’ responses was as follows: 80.6 percent of visitors from the Western U.S. (Hawai’i’s largest major market region), indicated an interest in returning to the Islands, followed by 77.8 percent of visitors from Korea, 67.1 percent from Canada, 64.7 percent from the Eastern U.S. and 61.6 percent from Oceania.
Visitors from all surveyed markets also expressed high overall satisfaction levels with their most recent stay, which seemed to ameliorate the unsavory effects of inflation. However, the study also found that the biggest barrier to booking return trips to Hawai’i over the next five years for respondents from all markets continued to be high vacation costs in the state.
Visitor satisfaction levels constitute 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 spending, total visitor spending and resident satisfaction.
Overall satisfaction levels gauged among tourists from all the aforementioned markets remained consistently high throughout 2022, pulling even with pre-pandemic levels. The proportion of travelers who rated their latest trip to Hawai’i as “excellent” for each market was as follows: 87.5 percent from the Western U.S., 88.7 percent from the Eastern U.S., 79.5 percent from Canada, 79.5 percent from Japan, 75.2 percent Oceania and 85.5 percent from Korea.
A solid majority of fourth-quarter 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 participants who indicated their most recent Hawai’i trip as “exceeded expectation” was as follows: 42.6 percent from U.S. West, 51.3 percent from U.S. East, 43.7 percent from Canada, 32.5 percent from Oceania, and 68.0 percent from Korea.
“Visitors’ expressed interest in returning to Hawai’i speaks to the quality experience provided by our industry and community partners, and the individuals who engage with travelers throughout the state,” said John De Fries, HTA’s president and CEO. “We continue to educate visitors about how to travel mindfully including ways they can support local businesses, preserve our islands’ natural and cultural resources, and make meaningful connections.”
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