There's an old saying that the best revenge is to simply be happy. It seems for Aussie travellers, returning to their 'happy place' in Hawaii is the best way to avenge their lost time in lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pent-up demand as a result of COVID restrictions has seen a strong desire to travel, and Australian holidaymakers have Hawaii set firmly in their sights. Aussies have always loved Hawaii as a holiday destination, with almost 300,000 Australian visitors to the island paradise in 2019, over half of which were on a return trip. Australia and Hawaii both share a relaxed attitude, a deep appreciation of the beach lifestyle and both countries love a cheeky Happy Hour too - but there's much more to it than that. So why is Hawaii the new revenge travel holiday hotspot?
Hawaii holidays satisfy revenge traveller's desire to splurge. After cancelled trips and border restrictions, travellers are looking to treat themselves and are willing to spend serious money on their next trip. There has been a shift in mindset, where holidaymakers want to spend their savings on the things that will take their trip from good to great.
A survey by management consulting firm BCG revealed more than a third of households who were able to save money during lockdowns are now planning post-pandemic holidays. Out of the 3000 people surveyed in late October and early November, about 55 per cent managed to save amid COVID-19 restrictions. While 13 per cent of consumers are now travelling more than pre-COVID, with this figure expected to rise to 42 per cent in 2022.
With all of that money to blow and pent-up demand, revenge travellers place a much higher value on the ability to travel now while they can, and to do it in style. Bespoke experiences and luxury accommodation in Hawaii has seen a radical shift in the demand for more indulgent and exclusive options.
"People really want to make sure they travel while they can," said Mark Matthews, marketing manager for Maui Seasons, a private tour company in Hawaii where bookings are up 65% so far this year.
Luxury hotels like the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa are also seeing a rise in the revenge traveller. Speaking to Fortune magazine, Tina Edmundson, global brand and marketing officer for Marriott International, said revenge travel was all about making up for lost time and opportunities.
"The past 18 months have forced people to re-evaluate the importance of travel in their lives. For many, what was seen as a 'want' has really been reclassified as a 'need,'" explains Edmundson.
Aussie's have long loved the fly and flop holiday, the opportunity to jump on a plane and swiftly land in a relaxing holiday destination where they can spend their days lounging around the resort pool and working their way through the cocktail menu. And whilst this is certainly on the cards on a holiday to Hawaii, revenge travellers are done laying around - they want to get out there and explore the environment around them. Revenge travellers place a huge emphasis on experiences outside their resorts and with so many things to do in Hawaii, it has become the top contender for an exciting holiday filled with exploration. An adventure-lovers paradise, Hawaii's unique Polynesian culture and dramatic jungle-covered mountains make it the ideal choice for holidaymakers chasing sun, surf, hikes and a fascinating range of historical, natural and cultural attractions.
The unique Polynesian-American cultural fusion of Hawaii is unlike anywhere else in the world, and this 'Aloha Spirit' guides the humble and harmonious lifestyles practiced across the four islands. From incredible pro-surfing beaches and turtle encounters on Oahu's North Shore to the world-class mountain biking and extreme jungle ziplining of Maui, there's action and adventure around every turn. The incredible red-rock escarpments and great cascading waterfalls of Kaua'i is a natural haven for travellers seeking a break on Hawaii's 'Garden Island' while the 'Big Island' covers all bases with four unique climate zones, meaning travellers can jump from snowy Maunakea to tropical rainforest, and encounter molten lava and mammoth waves somewhere in between.
Remember when we could spend the day shopping up a storm, dining out on some delicious food and partying into the wee hours with friends? And that was just your typical Saturday! Revenge travellers are keen to reconnect with and reclaim their pre-pandemic lifestyles and Hawaii offers the opportunity and infrastructure to do so. Not many tropical island destinations offer the level of retail therapy, gastronomy and nightlife that Hawaii does. In fact, Hawaii is renowned for its designer shopping, independent galleries, boutiques and outlet malls.
When you've shopped up an appetite, Hawaii's food scene delivers unique culinary experiences that blend traditional cooking techniques with more modern influences creating an exciting fusion of Polynesian, Indian, Southeast Asian and Chinese flavours. From local specialities and succulent street food to farm to table regional cuisine, traditional feasts, high-end sushi, American diners and five-star dining, Hawaii has it all. And when the sun goes down, Hawaii nightlife comes alive with tropical cocktails, the local live music scene and dazzling dance parties at chic clubs. Of course you can't miss the opportunity to enjoy a starlit beach walk, exploring the landscape as it transforms in the darkness.
Hawaiian Airlines has resumed direct flights between Sydney and Honolulu as of December 2021. The nonstop flight is approximately 10 hours and touches down at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, which has undergone a US$2.6 billion modernisation project. This flight time strikes the perfect balance for revenge travellers. It's not as arduous as a flight to Europe but is longer than a roadtrip to your neighbouring state. As more people return to travel, they long for the complete experience of a full-service international airline. They want to settle back into their seats, sipping on a mai tai from the drinks cart as they browse the in-flight entertainment, carefully selecting movies with run times that align with landing. Revenge travellers wear their stiff necks and cramped legs like a badge of honour, a signal that they have returned to the intrepid adventurers they once were.
Hawaii has reached a vaccination rate similar to Australia and has implemented a number of best-practice COVID-19 control protocols and entry requirements. All visitors must be fully vaccinated and strict health and safety measures protect locals and holidaymakers from the spread of the coronavirus. International travellers to Hawaii are required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before departure. Better still, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in the US has shortened the recommended isolation time for those with COVID to just 5 days, after which a mask must be worn. This means less time out from your holiday should you contract COVID-19. Revenge travellers are out for pandemic payback and don't want to risk Covid complications disrupting their holiday. Whilst they want to get back out into the world, they want to minimise the possibility of a positive PCR as much as possible.