Hawai'i: it's a tropical paradise that everyone ought to see at least once in their lives. With lush green mountainous landscapes, beautiful beaches, and exciting urban centres, the appeal of the islands is no secret. However, the perception of Hawai’i’s accessibility is often misunderstood, which means some travel advisors are missing the opportunity to make the sale. What are these misconceptions and what is the reality? CT Magazine spoke with Colin Wood, account director – Hawai‘i Tourism Canada, for some clarity.


“This just isn’t accurate,” Wood says. “There are all kinds of ways to keep the costs down.” Of course, the cost of flights is based on seasonality and January through to the end of March is considered peak for Canadians. As such, Wood suggests travel advisors propose the destination for spring and fall vacations. Not only might airfare be more affordable, hotel rates also go down, and as an added bonus, there is less tourist traffic throughout the islands. Worried about weather? No need, says Wood. “There are really only two seasons in Hawaii: summer (called Kau in Hawaiian) from May to October, and winter (Hooilo) from November to April, and the temperature is quite consistent year-round.” 

For a comprehensive selection of what product and price range is available on the market, tour operators such as Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations and TravelBrands all offer a range of flight/hotel packages. There are no all-inclusive resorts throughout the destination, though a diverse selection of accommodation is available. Budget-focused travellers might consider options with half- or full kitchens, in order to keep costs down on meals. Or, suggest a premium room category at select hotels and resorts that will offer continental breakfast, snacks, evening pupus (appetizers) and select cocktails within their guest lounges. “It’s also worth watching for value-add promotions that often include daily breakfasts or kids-eat-free offers,” Wood suggests.

As for in-destination tours, encourage clients to download the free GoHawaii app to see all the beaches, hiking trails, or other activities that won’t cost a dime. “Overall, the cost comes down to the flexibility, tastes and preferred travel style of your clients,” Wood says, “but amazing vacations can definitely be had on a budget.”


Travelling to Honolulu is about six hours from Vancouver (only one hour longer than a trip from YVR to YYZ, for comparison's sake). From Toronto to Honolulu, Air Canada Rouge operates direct return flights from the middle of December until the middle of April – a flight time of about 10.5 hours. “Clients can get onboard, have a rest, watch a movie, a bite to eat, and then, there you are,” Wood says. The return direct flight to Toronto leaves in the evening, leaving a full-day for last-minute exploration, and enough activity to encourage a sleep-filled trip home. “Obviously, clients have different tolerances in relation to flight lengths, but for a destination like Hawai‘i, the vacation your clients will experience will make the flight length very worth the trip.”


Hawai‘i does appeal to snowbirds, Wood admits, but its appeal extends much further, to young families, weddings, reunions, special occasions, meetings, conferences, and more. Throughout the islands of Hawai‘i (Maui, O‘ahu and the Island of Hawai‘i are the most popular for Canadians), travellers will find an incredibly beautiful, safe and welcoming destination. The islands are easy to navigate, each a unique outdoor paradise, and with a vibrant culture and culinary scene. “Overall, it’s attainable for a much broader cross-section of traveller types than many travel consultants believe,” Wood says.


Many Canadians see Hawai‘i for the first time on cruises, which can be surprisingly affordable, according to Wood. Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Pride of America sails a seven-day itinerary round-trip from Honolulu year-round. Overnights are scheduled in both Maui and Kaua‘i, not to mention visits to O‘ahu and the Island of Hawai‘i.

Interested in learning more? Visit agents.gohawaii.com.


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