Delta Airlines has just announced that it will begin flights between Honolulu and Tokyo starting this fall. Although seemingly insignificant to our American visitors, nothing could be further from the truth. Putting things into perspective, Japanese visitors have largely never returned to their beloved Hawaii since Covid, for a myriad of reasons. Normally, there would be over one and a half million Japanese visitors arriving in Hawaii each year. And it looks like that pace or more could pick up later this year.
Hawaii had a domestic tourism record this year, except for one item. And it was international tourists and more particularly Japanese visitors whose numbers remained at a fraction of normal.
The lack of international tourists has provided some resilience in Hawaii’s tough travel environment.
Hawaii is still trying to cope with extremely limited resources in our travel industry. The lack of workers is a huge pressure for hotels, airlines, restaurants, etc. We have already said that you should be prepared for this and it could be exacerbated by the return of international visitors. In Maui, for example, there are reportedly 3,000 jobs available in the hospitality industry that cannot be filled. Restaurants also remain in dispute, as noted here: Hawaii “Closed Without Notice” signs include Guy Fieri Find.
International arrivals will result in another record level of tourism.
One of the many major hurdles faced by Japanese visitors has been the requirement to obtain relatively expensive Covid tests upon returning to Japan. This even though the United States and Japan have reduced most border restrictions. It comes at a time when Japanese visitors also have to contend with a weakened yen valuation, in addition to hefty $600 fuel surcharges. Additionally, Japan has so far maintained a cap on the number of daily arrivals into the country.
The state 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 regardless of the increase in the cost of their hotels and the cost of their flights here, but they also have to pay an additional 20% in yen because of this exchange rate. »
Before Covid, Japanese arrivals were 1.6 million a year.
Delta Airlines Honolulu to Haneda begins December 1.
Delta said, “This is the first time Delta has offered service from Haneda to Honolulu, with its start delayed due to the pandemic.” DL181 will depart Honolulu at 1:30 p.m. and arrive in Haneda at 6:00 p.m. The return flight departs Haneda at 9:00 p.m. and arrives in Honolulu at 9:00 a.m.
“As travel restrictions are gradually easing in Japan, we have decided to restart service from Los Angeles and Honolulu and increase the frequency of flights currently operated to Haneda.”
Hawaii Airlines now offers flights in Japan to three airports, with three more routes on hold.
Hawaiian Airlines also serves Narita, Haneda and Kansai. It is unclear if or when they will resume Japanese flights from Fukuoka and Sapporo or the route between Kona and Haneda.
ANA Flying Honu, JAL and Zipair, which carry 520 passengers, are all back in Hawaii.
Recently, ANA, Japan’s largest airline, restarted its twice-weekly A380 service between Narito in Tokyo and Honolulu. It also flies from Haneda. One of the planes is pictured above during its delivery fight from the Toulouse factory. Japan Airlines also flies to Honolulu and Kona. And Zipair also flies to Honolulu.
How can Hawaii accommodate even more visitors?
First, we don’t know how quickly international visitors will return. If what’s happened domestically is any indication, however, we’re guessing it will happen faster than anyone thinks. Without adequate staff and infrastructure, what can we expect? This may be one place where Hawaii Travel customer service died. Here’s What’s Next will make a little more sense.