TORONTO — Hawaii may have been in the headlines in 2018 for a volcano eruption and two close calls with hurricanes, but the impact on tourism product was negligible and now Hawaii is looking forward to welcoming visitors for the 2018/19 winter season with a warm ‘aloha’ – meaning the joyful sharing of life.
Tourism partners from the Islands of Hawaii are in town for a roadshow to Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton, with a resounding message: ‘Hawaii is open for business’.
Kilauea volcano’s latest eruption began May 3 with lava flowing continuously until Aug. 6, but it was only a small area that was affected on the Island of Hawaii, nicknamed The Big Island and one of the eight major islands that make up the Hawaii archipelago.
“The lava flow was limited that very small portion of the island, which makes up about 12 square miles,” says Deanna Isbister, Director of Sales, the Island of Hawaii. “The Big Island itself is over 4,000 square miles, so a lot of people realized later that it only really affected a small percentage of the entire island. None of the airports ever shut down, none of the flights were ever cancelled.”
The lava flow on The Big Island was localized to the middle of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and did not affect any of the tourism infrastructure, such as hotels or airports. Since the park reopened a month ago, about 2,000 people visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park each day, which is about on par with September 2017 attendance, says Isbister.
“We always advise people to check the website daily, nps.gov, and their first stop will always be the visitors centre upon arrival,” she continued. “There are many new things to be seen, like the expanded sulphur bank, so were excited to get reacquainted with the park. Helicopter tours are now in high demand!”
The other major islands in the archipelago, such as Oahu and Maui, where a large portion of travellers usually visit, were unaffected by lava flows entirely.
Canadian tour operators are excited and optimistic about Hawaii as a destination this winter, offering great promotions and incentives for early booking:
- Air Canada Vacations is offering $50 off per person when booking 90 days prior to departure with flight and hotel packages starting for under $1,599.
- With TravelBrands, agents can earn three times the loyalty rewards and a chance to win a six-night stay in Hawaii. Clients can enjoy free nights, room upgrades, mean vouchers and 20% off car rentals.
- The AULANI Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina is offering winter savings of 30% when booking a 5+ night stay.
For more information, visit gohawaii.com/ca.