In January, Air China opened a new nonstop-route from Beijing to Honolulu. The three-times weekly flight will not only connect China to Hawaii, but will also make it easier for European and Middle Eastern travelers to reach the islands. China Eastern Airlines also recently opened up new flights from Shanghai to Honolulu and Hawaiian Airlines is slated to start its own nonstop service to Beijing this coming April.
Chinese tourism is coming our way and its effects are going to be seen on the Hawaiian economy sooner rather than later. While the Japanese tourism market slowly came to Hawaii over the last 20 years, the Chinese market is going to grow much quicker.
In a report recently issued by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Chinese visitors spent $127 million in 2010, $178 million in 2011, and $277 million last year. While those numbers can’t compare to the $2.7 billion Japanese tourist spent in 2012, they do show a substantial increase in Chinese visitor spending. With the new flight routes opening up between China and Hawaii we are sure to see Chinese spending increase even more this year.
Which islands are these Chinese tourists frequenting? According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority from January to October, 2013 most Chinese visitors stayed on Oahu. The Big Island came in second, with Maui and Kauai trailing in third and fourth.
This may all change in the next few years as the Big Island’s State and County Officials work with the federal government to reopen the international inspection facility at the Kona International Airport. The Big Island’s inability to have direct flights from Japan and China has had an impact on its tourism industry since the international facility closed in 2010. Reopening the facility could go a long way in opening the Chinese tourism market to the Big Island. However, for now there is no clear date when the facility will reopen.
Has all this talk of flying to the Big Island made you want to come visit? If you’d like more information about visiting the Big Island, or details about our luxury properties, please get in touch with us at, MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty.