REPORT FROM THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY – The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, announced that Japan Airlines will be operating three charter flights to Kona International Airport. The three 767s will each carry 234 passengers arriving on March 13, 15 and 27.

Kintetsu International, a leader in corporate travel in Japan, chartered the sold out flights, one from Narita and two from Nagoya, which are estimated to provide up to $1.02 million into our state’s economy.

“These charter flights help to open up Kona as a strategic second international port of entry, expanding our accessibility for other markets,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “We have been working with other airline carriers in hopes of establishing direct international flights and these charter flights are a step in that direction. It will also provide another connection point to other neighbor islands and distribute the benefits of tourism across the state.”

“We certainly welcome the obvious benefits that come with direct flights from Asia,” said Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Regular international flights are important for economic growth on Hawai‘i Island and will help us realize our goal of becoming a gateway to the Pacific.”

There have been significant increases in airlift from Japan, the largest international market for Hawai‘i’s tourism economy. The recent establishment of direct service to Fukuoka from Honolulu, Osaka to Honolulu and 21 charter flights last winter from regional cities in Japan, demonstrate that there continues to be demand for travel to the Hawaiian Islands.

“Japan is an important market to Hawai‘i’s tourism economy and we look forward to welcoming more Japanese visitors. We also hope that the success of these charter flights will lead to a regularly scheduled flight from Japan to Kona,” added McCartney.

Established in 1998, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, is responsible for strategically managing tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i that integrates the interest of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Tourism is our state’s leading economic driver and largest employer and the HTA continually works to ensure its sustainability well into the future. For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@HawaiiHTA).

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