Hawaii Vacation Experience | 2022 Year End Review

Hawaii Aloha Travel > Podcast > Hawaii Vacation Experience | 2022 Year End Review

Aloha Bruce is back in the Hawaii Aloha Travel studio for a year-end wrap-up of some of the more significant Hawaii tourism stories of 2022 and to talk about what it means for the Hawaii vacation experience in the year to come.

Bruce notes that he’s just returned from a two-week trip to the West Coast, where he attended a couple of disappointing Miami Dolphins games and returned with the flu. This prompts a brief discussion about the grim weather we’re having right now and how bad weather can affect the Hawaii vacation experience, especially in the “rainy season“.

Bruce starts off with some tourism encouraging 2022 visitor arrival statistics, noting that 2020-2021 stats are “a wash” because of the pandemic. International arrivals are still far behind 2019 levels, but the recent lifting of travel restrictions in Japan is a reason to be optimistic.

Visitor spending rates are noted, and Bruce explains that room rates and hotel revenues are up despite a drop in occupancy rates. This leads into a discussion over the battle over illegal vacation rentals on Oahu and to Bruce explaining that the issue is far from over.

Bruce moves on to briefly delve into the controversy over a plan to award more than $70 million in contracts to market manage Hawaii tourism. The plan has been scrapped for a second time, officials must, once again, “start from scratch”.

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Despite that fiasco, Bruce is keen to mention the relative success of the Malama Hawaii program aimed at educating Hawaii visitors about Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources through “voluntourism” incentive programs at dozens of Hawaii hotel and resort properties. “We do support that,” Bruce says, and notes HAT’s various native Hawaiian cultural tours with Secret Hawaii Tours.

Up next is new governor Josh Green’s proposal to impose a $50 fee per visitor to help fund Hawaii education, preservation, and conservation efforts. Response is mixed, with pushback from Hawaii’s visitor sector, support from environmentalists, and relative indifference from everyone else.

Bruce then discusses the fact that science is showing that efforts to regulate access to certain natural resources, noting the encouraging data that show Hanauma Bay has undergone a remarkable recovery after a 9-month closure due to the pandemic and subsequent fees and reservations required of visitors since it reopened.

The topic turns to the recent, spectacular eruption of Mauna Loa Volcano on Hawaii Island. It made headlines around the world and caused grave concerns about the possible closure of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, “Saddle Road”, due to the advancing lava flow. The eruption ended just days ago, prompting relief among Big Island commuters and residents and businesses along small, winding alternate coastal highways.

This prompts Bruce to remind visitors that lava is not the only thing to experience on the Big Island, and to offer an optimistic outlook for the Hawaii vacation experience in 2023 and beyond.