Hawaii: Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey Results Show Promise for Future Visitation Despite Economic Headwinds
February 24, 2023
23-07 Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey Q4 Report NR_FINAL.pdf
HONOLULU – The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released the results of its Q4 2022 Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey (VSAT) which surveyed visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Canada, Japan, Oceania, Korea, and China who visited Hawai‘i from October to December 2022. The survey found that a majority of visitors from all markets surveyed indicated a high likelihood to return to the Hawaiian Islands in the next five years. High overall satisfaction with visitors’ most recent stay in Hawai‘i appeared to overshadow effects of inflation.
More than 60 percent of visitors from all markets indicated they were “very likely” to return to Hawai‘i in the next five years. Hawai‘i’s largest major market area, the U.S. West, saw 80.6 percent of visitors indicating an interest in returning, followed by 77.8 percent of those from Korea, 67.1 percent from Canada, 64.7 percent from the U.S. East and 61.6 percent from Oceania. Those from the U.S. West and U.S. East who traveled in smaller parties were more likely to return, as were more affluent visitors from the U.S. West. Repeat visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Oceania and Canada expressed a greater likelihood of returning to the state than first-time visitors. The biggest barrier to returning to Hawai‘i in the next five years for all markets surveyed continued to be the high cost of a vacation in the state.
“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.”
Visitor satisfaction is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Strategic Plan, along with resident satisfaction, average daily visitor spending and total visitor spending. Overall satisfaction levels among visitors from all markets surveyed remained consistently high throughout 2022, rivaling pre-pandemic levels. Visitors rating their most recent trip to Hawai‘i as “excellent” included U.S. West (87.5 percent), U.S. East (88.7 percent), Canada (79.5 percent), Japan (79.5 percent), Oceania (75.2 percent) and Korea (85.5 percent).
Prior to or during their trip, the majority of visitors surveyed recalled seeing or hearing information about caring for and respecting Hawai‘i’s culture, people and environment. More than half of visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East and Korea recalled seeing or hearing information about safe and responsible travel; ocean and hiking safety; and supporting local or shopping local.
Hawai‘i exceeded expectations among many visitors, with 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 indicating their latest trip “exceeded expectations.” Younger respondents between 18 and 34 years old from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan, and Canada were more likely to respond that their trip exceeded expectations compared to visitors from these markets in other age groups.
A strong majority of visitors in the fourth quarter from all markets surveyed were “very likely” to recommend the Hawaiian Islands as a vacation destination to their friends and family. Visitors from North American markets were the most likely to recommend Hawai‘i, led by those from the U.S. East (89.1 percent), U.S. West (88.9 percent) and Canada (87.2 percent). More than three in four visitors from Oceania (79.4 percent) and Korea (76.7 percent) shared the same likelihood to recommend the destination.
The VSAT is an ongoing survey of visitors from key visitor markets who recently completed a trip to Hawai‘i. The sampled visitor markets for Q4 2022 were: U.S. West (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming), U.S. East (all other states in the Continental U.S.), Canada, Japan, Oceania, and Korea. Due to the relatively small number of visitors from Japan and China who completed the survey this quarter, data from those markets are not highlighted.
DBEDT’s Tourism Research Branch contracted Anthology Research to conduct the VSAT survey. Data were collected between October 1, 2022 and January 31, 2023 among visitors who traveled to Hawai‘i during the fourth quarter of 2022. A total of 4,845 visitors were surveyed during this period: 1,460 from the U.S. West (margin of error of +/- 2.56 percent); 1,577 from the U.S. East (margin of error of +/- 2.47 percent); 61 from Japan (margin of error of +/- 12.55 percent); 1,210 from Canada ( margin of error of +/- 2.82 percent); 340 from Oceania (margin of error of +/- 5.31 percent); 162 from Korea (margin of error of +/- 7.70 percent); and 35 from China (margin of error of +/- 16.56 percent). Note all margins of error are presented at the 95 percent level of confidence.
The full results from the Q4 2022 VSAT are available online at:
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel continued in December 2022 and for the full year.
Total traffic in 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 64.4% compared to 2021. Globally, full year 2022 traffic was at 68.5% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels. December 2022 total traffic rose 39.7% compared to December 2021 and reached 76.9% of the December 2019 level.
International traffic in 2022 climbed 152.7% versus 2021 and reached 62.2% of 2019 levels. December 2022 international traffic climbed 80.2% over December 2021, reaching 75.1% of the level in December 2019.
Domestic traffic for 2022 rose 10.9% compared to the prior year. 2022 domestic traffic was at 79.6% of the full year 2019 level. December 2022 domestic traffic was up 2.6% over the year earlier period and was at 79.9% of December 2019 traffic.
“The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel. This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year, despite some governments’ over-reactions to China’s re-opening,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 363.3% rise in full year international 2022 traffic compared to 2021, maintaining the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 129.9% and the load factor climbed 37.3 percentage points to 74.0%. December 2022 traffic rose 302.7% compared to December 2021.
European carriers’ full year traffic climbed 132.2% versus 2021. Capacity increased 84.0%, and load factor rose 16.7 percentage points to 80.6%. For December, demand climbed 46.5% compared to the same month in 2021.
Middle Eastern airlines saw a 157.4% traffic rise in 2022 compared to 2021. Capacity increased 73.8% and load factor climbed 24.6 percentage points to 75.8%. December demand climbed 69.8% compared to the same month in 2021.
North American carriers reported a 130.2% annual traffic rise in 2022 compared to 2021. Capacity increased 71.3%, and load factor climbed 20.7 percentage points to 80.8%. December 2022 traffic rose 61.3% compared to the year-ago period.
Latin American airlines posted a 119.2% traffic rise in 2022 over full year 2021. Annual capacity climbed 93.3% and load factor increased 9.7 percentage points to 82.2%, the highest among the regions. December demand climbed 37.0% compared to December 2021.
African airlines’ annual traffic rose 89.2% in 2022 versus the prior year. Full year 2022 capacity was up 51.0% and load factor climbed 14.5 percentage points to 71.7%, the lowest among regions. December 2022 traffic for African airlines rose 118.8% over the year-earlier period.
Domestic Passenger Markets
India’s full year domestic traffic rose 48.8% versus 2021, reaching 85.7% of the 2019 level.
Japan’s domestic RPKs rose 75.9% in 2022 and were at 74.1% of the 2019 level.
The Bottom Line
“Let us hope that 2022 becomes known as the year in which governments locked away forever the regulatory shackles that kept their citizens earthbound for so long. It is vital that governments learn the lesson that travel restrictions and border closures have little positive impact in terms of slowing the spread of infectious diseases in our globally inter-connected world. However, they have an enormous negative impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as on the global economy that depends on the unfettered movement of people and goods,” said Walsh.
December 2022 Passenger Analysis
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.