Lieutenant Governor Aiona seeks more Asia flights


More international visitors are expected to travel to Hawaii following the easing of travel restrictions implemented through the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

South Korea is now among the nations whose citizens will be able to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism without a visa.

Lt. Gov. James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr. met with Asian airline officials in South Korea last week to seek new air service and increases in the number of flights and seats from key Asian cities to Hawaii's international airports in Honolulu, Kona and Hilo. "The Korean airline industry is optimistic about expanding service to Hawaii," said Aiona.

Joo-An Kang, president of Asiana Airlines, said a new roundtrip flight between Korea and Hawaii is being considered for the near future. Asiana Airlines has not had direct flights to Hawaii since 1998.

Aiona anticipates that the waiver program will boost Hawaii's tourism industry, doubling the number of Korean visitors to Hawaii in the first one to two years. About 50,000 Koreans have visited Hawaii within the last year.

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