If you’re the type of person that wants to go straight from warm, sunny beaches and surfing to a cold, northern island perfect for skiing (or vice versa), then you’re in luck! Hawaiian Airlines just began its new nonstop route on Tuesday from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sapporo, Japan, on the country’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. The airline adds to its Asian expansion, making this the fourth Japanese destination it offers service to, and the first direct connection between the two cities in over ten years.
Hawaiian Airlines says flights will be offered three times a week, departing from Honolulu on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and then returning from Sapporo on the following days. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is eager to offer more flights to Japan, as tourists from the country make up the largest market of visitors. The HTA expects the new Sapporo route will bring in roughly $61 million in tourist spending and $6.7 million in tax revenue. The airline’s route to Sapporo follows flights to Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka, all of which have been launched since 2010.
Japan’s renewed interest in traveling to Hawaii doesn’t just benefit Hawaiian Airlines, but the island’s economy as whole as well. In 2011, Hawaii received around 1.2 million Japanese visitors, spending a total of $2.1 billion. The tourism authority now predicts it will almost match that in the months from September to January alone. Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley said they are excited to offer a new option for travel to Japanese visitors, as well as help North American travelers get to Japan and the city of Sapporo, with its popularity for winter sights and sports.
[via Travel Daily]