Now is probably the best time, ever, to organise an event in the islands of Hawaii, thanks to a great airfare deal being offered by Hawaiian Airlines. Groups can travel from Sydney and Brisbane to Honolulu return from $799 per person including taxes.
Unusually for this kind of offer, PCOs have plenty of time to arrange their trips to the islands because the deal is available for booking until the end of December. It’s based on economy-class fares and a minimum of ten people travelling together.
Hawaiian Airlines operates seven days a week from Sydney and three from Brisbane. In addition to the low fares, the current group offer delivers a swag of other advantages, according to Joyce Weir (pictured below), National Business Development Manager MICE for the airline.
These include a two x 32-kilo baggage allowance (and 11.5 kilos of hand luggage), 68 “extra comfort” seats on each flight for an additional $165 per person per sector with extra legroom, amenity packs and preferential boarding, and one guest for every 20 people booked flying free of charge.
Plus there are $110 return add-ons to the beautiful islands of Maui, Kona or Kauai, with 170 onward flights a day from Honolulu, the capital. From Australia, the carrier offers one-stop services via Honolulu to twelve US mainland cities.
Many of the islands’ tourism and travel officials are weary of having to answer the question: is it safe? This is understandable, as images of the recent volcanic activity, depicted in lurid technicolour on news bulletins, mischaracterises the volcano’s impact on the islands as a whole, Joyce explains in an interview with The Siteseer.
“It’s disheartening, especially when you realise some people believe [that the volcano has had a big impact] to be true!” she says. “Hawaii Tourism and its marketing partners have been working diligently since Kilauea erupted on May 3 to clarify the public record, correct misinformation and communicate the message to the marketplace over and over again that we’re open for business.
The exception is the area of lower Puna on the big island of Hawai’i, where the total lava flow area is less than ten square miles, about 0.2% of the entire island. Local businesses and tour companies, outside of the active areas, are open, and no other island in the entire chain is affected. (The state of Hawaii comprises hundreds of islands).
“We’ll continue to reiterate this message in weeks and months to come, emphasising that visitors have absolutely no reason to change their travel plans,” says Joyce. “All our flights are operating normally and demand remains strong.”
Many price points
Hawaii is a naturally beautiful and inspiring destination in which to hold a meeting or convention, she adds, with attributes to make events of all sizes a success, in particular terrific facilities and food, friendly people and an environment in which it’s generally easy to do business. With more than 50,000 hotel rooms throughout the six biggest islands, “there’s a price point for every budget”.
“In addition to excellent accessibility, high-quality infrastructure and off-program activities, there’s what we call the aloha ambience, where, according to surveys, attendees leave Hawaii feeling refreshed, invigorated, at ease and with a yearn to return,” Joyce says.
Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s longest serving carrier, now in its eighty-ninth year of operation. “From the moment your clients step on board they’ll experience our signature hospitality with our warm and friendly celebration of the culture, people and aloha spirit.”
Another prime advantage for PCOs is the friendly and efficient service offered by the Hawaiian Airlines Groups Team based in Sydney, she says. The MICE market is “extremely important” for the company which aims to help PCOs sell Hawaii as well as its mainland US destinations.
Meantime, despite lava flows and mischaracterisations, Hawaii’s welcoming message seems to be resonating with travellers. Visitors spent a total of USD1.42 billion in April 2018, an increase of 13.4% compared to last year, and visitor numbers grew 5.5% to around 230,000 in the same period, according to statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The airline is keen for Siteseer readers to do the same.