Hawaiian Airlines said it will launch direct flights between Taipei and Honolulu in July following the US extending its visa-waiver program to cover Taiwanese.
“We have long known that there is demand for a Hawaii vacation in Taiwan, but visits have been impeded by the cost, complexity and time it has taken its citizens to apply for a US visitor’s visa,” Mark Dunkerley, the airline’s president and chief executive, said earlier this week.
Following Taiwan’s admission to the program on Nov. 1, Taiwanese no longer need to obtain a full US visa at a cost of NT$4,800 per application.
The airline’s new service, which will operate three times a week, will add nearly 46,000 new seats annually to the market.
Mike McCartney, president and chief executive of Hawaii’s Tourism Authority, said the new service will help expand the growing Asian market for Hawaii’s tourism sector.
With the state expecting more than 10,000 Taiwanese visitors this year, the association said it hoped the new service would help boost arrivals from Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Taipei-based Lion Travel Service Co said interest in visiting Hawaii had surged in recent months.
The company added that it will work with China Airlines to provide extra charter flights to meet growing travel demand during the Lunar New Year holiday season in February.