As Japan continues to literally dig out from under the effects of the massive March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Hawaii is closely monitoring the impact this is having on its visitor industry. Hawaii and Japan have long had a tourism relationship, with the Japanese being the biggest international group of tourists that visits the islands each year.
Following are some updates from the week of March 28 as provided by the state-run Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA):
– An 18.3 percent decline in arrivals from Japan is expected for the month of March, which is slightly lower than the initial projection of a 25 percent drop following the events on March 11.
– Early this week, Japan Airlines announced that it would temporarily reduce flights from Narita to Honolulu in April. JAL also announced this week that it has emerged from bankruptcy.
– Hawaiian Airlines announced yesterday their plans to launch direct service to Osaka in July with no reduction in service from Tokyo.
– HTA Vice President of Brand Management, David Uchiyama, returned earlier this week from the Routes Asia 2011 Conference in Korea. While there, he met with numerous airline executives to discuss the development of new air service routes, increased service, and protecting existing airlift. HTA will continue to develop these relationships and work on increasing flights from the Asia region.
– In the short-term, HTA, along with marketing contractors and industry partners will be implementing programs to increase travel to Hawaii from North America, Oceania, China, and Korea to offset the shortfall from Japan.
A day after the Japan disaster, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie sought to organize a statewide effort to collect donations for victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Through a coalition led by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor; Hawaii’s major banks; and island businesses, community groups, public officials, and individuals, Aloha For Japan was created to be that coordinated unified effort to provide such support. For more details, visit: www.alohaforjapan.com .