In these troubled times, Hawaii’s visitor industry is desperately seeking ways to boost arrivals, hotel occupancy and traffic in attractions and restaurants.

Hawaii hotel rates are dropping, special offers are in effect, and almost all advertising that emanates in Hawaii is promoting the current low cost of a Hawaii vacation.

A welcome elixir occurred in March. It was the economic impact brought about by the15th Annual Honolulu Festival. The free weekend fest featured live musical and cultural performances as well as impressive art exhibits by artisans from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, The Philippines, The Republic of China (Taiwan), Korea, Hawaii and the rest of the United States.

It was enormously successful, generating more than 5,200 visitors who came to Hawaii specifically to take part in the weekend of festivities.

The Festival began March 13th with free cultural demonstrations for nearly 1,000 Oahu school students at the Hawaii Convention Center. It opened to the public with two full days of free cultural performances and exhibits at the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Waikiki Shopping Plaza, along with a Grand Parade through Waikiki. The free public performances drew approximately 30,000 guests, of which nearly 17,000 came to the Hawaii Convention Center. Moreover, an estimated 40,000 spectators along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki watched the Grand Parade finale. On top of that, the Festival’s “Friendship Gala” fundraiser on March 14 generated more than $52,000 in support of Hawaii educational and cultural programs.

Most significant was the $10 million in visitor spending and nearly $1 million in total tax revenues for the state.

The Honolulu Festival was initiated in 1995 to help promote cultural understanding and harmony between the people of Hawaii and Asia-Pacific. Next year’s 16th Annual Honolulu Festival takes place March 12-14.

Actually, you’re likely to run into one festival or another whenever you vacation in the islands. They’re all good fun and most of them are free.

If you’re considering a vacation here pick an agent at, or call us at 1-800-843-8771. We’ll let you know what will be going on while you’re here.


  1. We do our best to look for festivals while visiting Maui each year, and we have had a blast at all of them.

    In 2007, we made it out to day one of the Taste of Lahaina and enjoyed some great food and music. This past February, we attended the Pacific Whale Foundation’s Whale Day celebration in Kihei, and did some shopping at the local merchant booths in the process. Again, more great food, music, and even met up with a few island friends from Twitter.

    Those types of experiences are truly unique when we talk to our friends and family that have visited the islands and just gone to the vacation hot spots. It has been such a great way for us to interact with the island residents that open up their homes to visitors like us, and we are in turn rewarded with so much more Aloha than you normally get from just tour guides and hotel staff.

    Two events we’re definitely hoping to attend in the near future is the Halloween Parade in Lahaina (should they ever get that started again) and the East Maui Taro Festival in Hana.

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