Hawaii tourism is strained as 5 airlines add flights to Japan
Delta Airlines has just announced that it will be offering flights between Honolulu and Tokyo starting in the fall. While seemingly insignificant to our US travelers, nothing could be further from the truth. To put it in perspective, since Covid, Japanese visitors have largely never returned to their beloved Hawaii for a variety of reasons. Normally, more than a million and a half Japanese visitors would come to Hawaii each year. And it looks like that pace, or more, could pick up again later this year.
Hawaii has seen record-breaking domestic tourism this year in all but one element. And these are international tourists, and particularly Japanese visitors, whose numbers have been a fraction of normal.
The lack of international tourists offered some flexibility in Hawaii’s challenging travel environment.
Hawaii is still trying to cope with extremely limited resources in our travel industry. Labor shortages are a huge burden for hotels, airlines, restaurants and more. We’ve already said you need to be prepared for this and it could be exacerbated by returning international visitors. On Maui, for example, there are said to be 3,000 vacant hotel jobs that cannot be filled. Restaurants remain challenged, too: Hawaii signs saying “Closed without notice” read Guy Fieri Find.
International arrivals will lead to another record tourism.
One of the major obstacles for Japanese visitors has been the requirement to have relatively expensive Covid tests when returning to Japan. And that’s despite the fact that both the US and Japan have cut most border restrictions. This comes at a time when Japanese visitors are also confronted with a weakened yen valuation in addition to high fuel surcharges of $600. In addition, Japan has maintained a cap on the number of daily entries into the country for the time being.
The state’s research arm (UHERO) said the US dollar is “20% higher than a year ago. A Japanese visitor coming to Oahu not only has to pay the increase in hotel costs and airfare here, but also has to pay an additional 20% in yen because of this exchange rate.”
Before Covid, 1.6 million people arrived in Japan annually.
Delta Airlines Honolulu to Haneda departs December 1st.
Delta said, “This is the first time Delta has offered a service from Haneda to Honolulu that has had its launch delayed due to the pandemic.” DL181 departs Honolulu at 1:30 p.m. and arrives in Haneda at 6 p.m. The return flight departs Haneda at 9:00 p.m. and arrives in Honolulu at 9:00 a.m.
“As travel restrictions in Japan begin to ease, we have made the decision to resume service from Los Angeles and Honolulu and increase the frequency of flights currently operating flights to Haneda.”
Hawaii Airlines has resumed flights to Tokyo.
Hawaiian Airlines has also just resumed its daily non-stop flights to Haneda.
ANA Flying Honu, JAL and Zipair have all returned to Hawaii.
Recently, ANA, Japan’s largest airline, resumed its twice-weekly A380 service from Tokyo’s Narito to Honolulu. It also flies from Haneda. One of the aircraft is pictured above during its delivery battle from the Toulouse factory. Japan Airlines also flies to Honolulu and Kona. And Zipair also flies to Honolulu.