Wednesday,  January 19, 2022  5:43 am

Hawaii Tourism: 'Mahalo Toronto!'

Hawaii Tourism: 'Mahalo Toronto!'
Laci Goshi, brand manager, Hawaii Tourism Authority; Julie Yoneyama, director of sales, leisure, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau; Colin Wood, account director, Hawaii Tourism Authority; Maile Brown, director of marketing, Kaua'i Visitors Bureau; Karishma Chowfin, director of travel industry sales, O'ahu Visitors Bureau.

Representatives from Hawaii Tourism bid a hearty aloha! to the travel trade at a packed Toronto Congress Center last night in the first stop of a three-night Canadian tour.

Around 200 travel agents were in attendance to mingle and network with visitor bureau representatives at the trade show, before settling down to a series of entertaining presentations that showcased the beauty and diversity on offer in the volcanic archipelago.

The Canadian market is a crucial one for tourism to Hawaii, accounting for around 500,000 visitors annually (and aiming for 600,000) and Colin Wood, account director for Hawaii Tourism, highlighted the importance of travel agents in getting the message out.

“Sessions like these where they’re getting to engage with the representatives from the visitor bureaus – that really helps,” he commented. “Turning them into ambassadors, encouraging them to take the Hawaii Destination Specialist program, to learn everything they can.”

Colin Wood, account director, Hawaii Tourism.

One of the central purposes of the evening, he told PAX, was to address misgivings agents may have about Hawaii. “Agents have this preconception that it has to be expensive,” he commented.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s all in how your clients choose to do it. If they’re willing to not go in peak season, it cuts the cost down a little bit; it depends on what accommodation they’re looking for – that can also bring the cost down. There are all kinds of ways to do Hawaii, and actually keep it quite affordable.”

Another erroneous belief, he said, was that the flight time from Canada to Hawaii was prohibitive. “You can get a direct flight from Toronto – it’s ten hours,” he said. “Air Canada Rouge flies direct to Honolulu between mid-December [and] mid-April.”

The abundance of variety on offer in Hawaii, Wood said, was one of its most unique selling points for travel agents. “To stay in one property in one spot – it’s not really what Hawaii is known for,” he remarked. “I think the idea is that you need to get out and explore, and experience the islands.

“You can explore the different sides of the islands,” he continued, “have all kinds of different experiences. The idea is to encourage people to move around. It’s incredibly safe to get around, the driving is easy, you can rent cars and move around on the island. [It’s a] very safe destination overall, so I think it lends itself to exploring.”

With the Toronto stop of their itinerary wrapped up, the Hawaiian representatives head to Vancouver and Calgary next, with 150 agents expected at each event.

Stay tuned to for travel agent takeaways from each presentation later this week.

Further information about the Hawaiian Tourism Authority is available at