Skift Take

As Southwest Airlines ramps up its highly anticipated Hawaii service, fares from the mainland and between the islands are expected to become more competitive and encourage more tourism. The question is whether Hawaii’s infrastructure, which is already impacted by high room rates and occupancies, can handle it.

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The launch of Southwest Airlines service to Hawaii, which started earlier this month with Oakland-Honolulu flights and is expanding over the weeks ahead, has generated excitement among travelers and travel advisors alike. The so-called “Southwest Effect” is expected to bring more competitive airfares, which can be exorbitant between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii during high-demand periods. Also highly anticipated is Southwest’s upcoming service on inter-island routes, currently the sole domain of Hawaiian Airlines, which often offers fares equal to those from the mainland.

However, there could be a downside. While it may get cheaper to fly to Hawaii, the cost of staying there is going in the opposite direction. What impact will rising demand have on a hotel scene that already boasts some of the nation’s highest occupancies and average daily rates? Could Hawaii, which is enjoying increased business from Asia as well as North America, become the next hotbed of overtourism?

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Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

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The Southwest Effect Is Already Impacting Hawaii Tourism: Southwest Airlines’ entry into the Hawaii market is likely to bring more competitive airfares from the U.S. mainland and to inter-island routes. The good news may be tempered, however, by rising hotel rates and limited availability in Hawaii’s most popular destinations.

How a ‘Poppy Apocalypse’ Could Turn Into Tourism Gold for a Small California City: Lake Elsinore, California, wanted tourists — but not the kind that gridlocked its streets and trampled its mountainsides. The city is trying to learn from intense short-term overtourism to prepare for a more manageable future.

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Meetings and Events

Destinations Still Rely on Relationships to Attract Events: Some convention and visitor bureaus have turned to technology gimmicks and other new methods to highlight their destinations’ finest attributes, but personal relationships and experience remain vital. Relationships really do matter.

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.


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Tags: hawaii, southwest airlines, tourism, travel advisor innovation report, travel agents

Photo credit: Hawaii Gov. David Ige greets the Southwest Airlines inaugural flight to Hawaii March 17, 2019 after it lands in Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. Stephen M. Keller / Southwest Airlines

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