Sendai International Airport prepares for peak tourism
Japan’s deep north offers rich history and breathtaking scenery for all seasons
Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports www.discoveryreports.com
There is a deeper history to the Tohoku region than the Great East Japan Earthquake. Home to the Yamadera mountain temple, a century-old complex that is considered among the most beautiful temples in the country, Japan’s deep north offers rich history and breathtaking scenery for all seasons. It has more hot springs and ski slopes than Hokkaido that Japanese and Taiwanese tourists have known for years.
“The Tohoku region is the treasure land to tourists,” says Takuya Iwai, CEO of Sendai International Airport, concessionaire of the airport hub since its privatisation in 2016.
Passenger traffic has been rising steadily, exceeding 3 million annually with expanded domestic services, including the newest route to Izumo serving travellers to Japan’s oldest Shinto shrine. Seoul, Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing are also directly accessible from Sendai International Airport, given vibrant tourism flowing around Tohoku’s year-round destinations. Pursuits in Japan’s deep north range from skiing and seeing frost-covered trees during the winter to exploring cherry blossom fields in April, grand festivals during the summer and vistas of riverside mountains lush with autumn leaves in the autumn.
Expecting 4.1 million passengers by 2020 and 5.5 million by 2044, Sendai International Airport is boosting capacities and offering airlines flexible pricing. It is opening a new annexe that provides three more wickets and two bus gates this autumn. More shopping and dining zones will also be added to existing amenities such as passenger lounges and resting rooms, cycling and runners’ ports, generous parking spaces, restaurants and spas.
Since November last year, Sendai International Airport has been providing direct ground-handling services to entice more foreign airlines to use the airport as a hub in northeast Japan. It is keen on collaborating with more partners to open new routes within the region, especially in Hong Kong and Thailand.
“Our mission is to bring the world to Tohoku, so things will change rapidly,” Iwai says.