Along with multigenerational travel, romance travel has always been Hawaii's bread and butter. But is tying the knot or celebrating a honeymoon in the Aloha State still as popular as ever?
The short answer: honeymoons are down in the first half of the year while weddings remain virtually flat, compared to last year's numbers.
According to preliminary statistics recently released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), it looks as though a decrease in honeymoon clients from Japan has sunk Hawaii's overall honeymoon numbers by 3.6 percent, compared to last year, while June was a big month for Hawaii weddings.
Read on as Travel Agent further explores the latest data surrounding the wedding and honeymoon markets in the Aloha State so agents know exactly where to find their next Hawaii-bound romance client.
A Closer Look at the Numbers
In the first half of 2017, the total number of honeymoon visitors to Hawaii declined (down 3.6 percent to 267,239) versus 2016, according to the HTA.
Honeymoon visitors in the month of June decreased (down 5.2 percent to 57,711) compared to a year ago, due to fewer visitors coming from Japan (down 8.2 percent to 23,515), the U.S. West (down 11.9 percent to 9,753) and the U.S. East (down four percent to 8,918).
In the first six months of 2017, there were 51,677 visitors (down 0.1 percent) who came to Hawaii for a destination wedding, which was similar to last year.
Considerably more visitors (up 17.2 percent to 11,763) came to Hawaii for weddings in June compared to a year ago, boosted by increases from the U.S. West (up 22 percent), the U.S. East (up 8.3 percent) and Japan (up 7.3 percent).
Visitors in the first half of 2017 spent a total of $8.4 billion in the Hawaiian Islands, an increase of 8.7 percent compared to the first half of 2016.
LGBT Weddings and Honeymoons
According to a study conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, a San Francisco-based firm specializing in LGBT consumer research, much attention is placed on same-sex marriage, which is seen as a “new market” to many. In reality, marriage has been available to American same-sex couples, in waves, for 12 years, starting in Massachusetts.
Within the research group for the study, 35 percent of the men and 58 percent of the women were already married. Further, 73 percent of LGBT parents were married.
At one time, when same-sex couples could only be married in certain states, destination weddings were popular, and sometimes necessary, according to the study.
“Hawaii should view the LGBT wedding and honeymoon business less as a ‘new business wave’ and more as a stable long-term business strategy,” according to the study. “Same-sex couples will continue to get married, a small percentage will choose a destination wedding, and most same-sex couples will choose a honeymoon. We would expect that business to be about five percent (corresponding to the estimated U.S. LGBT population size) of Hawaii’s wedding and honeymoon business from this point forward.”
Positively, other research shows that Hawaii is a primary destination for LGBT honeymoons. The CMI 2015 LGBT Travel Survey rate was eight percent of same-sex couples choosing Hawaii for their honeymoon, the highest percentage of any destination.