Scandinavians are known worldwide for their love of nature, the outdoors, and their addiction to incredible skiing. Until now, for Japanese resorts such as Niseko, visitors have mainly come from Asia or nearby Australasia. However, all this is about to change.
The Scandinavian airline, Finnair, recently declared that they would begin direct flights to Sapporo from Helsinki this coming winter. Flight times will now be reduced to nine hours, suddenly opening up a whole new market to the powder-hungry Nordic skier. I repeat, direct flights to Sapporo- truly excellent news!
Finnair Launches Direct Flights To Sapporo
The Japanese market is no stranger to Finnair, with existing routes to Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka; they have now added Sapporo to that list.
For Christian Lesjak, Senior Vice President of Finnair, “Japan is a key market for us, and we are excited about adding Sapporo to our network. With the new route, Finnair is the only European airline to fly a scheduled route to Sapporo. With five key Japanese cities in our network, we are now the largest European carrier flying to Japan.”
The new flights will run twice a week from December 15th 2019 until March 27th 2020 and will take approximately nine hours each way – reducing flight time by at least three hours. Without the need for stopovers in Tokyo or Hong Kong, travellers are saved both time and money.
This has huge implications for the European market, with Helsinki being an important hub for international travel. With this new direct route, travellers from all over Northern Europe have an accessible alternative to reaching the resorts of Hokkaido in the Winter time.
The Scandinavian airline, Finnair, recently declared that they would begin direct flights to Sapporo from Helsinki this coming winter. Flight times will now be reduced to nine hours, suddenly opening up a whole new market to the powder-hungry Nordic skier. This also offers the chance for the Scandinavian market to enjoy the incredible real estate investment opportunities.
"Other notable resorts in the northern province of Japan include: Rusutsu Resort, Furano Prince Snow Resorts, and Sapporo Teine Ski Resort, all within easy reach of New Chitose International airport. "
Why are Finnair flying to Sapporo?
Of course, the most obvious answer is the accessibility of the skiing. Resorts such as Niseko – which recorded up to 285 cm of snowfall over January of this year – is a mere two hours drive away. With flights expected to arrive in Sapporo at 9am, travellers can be in the resort well before lunchtime.
Other notable resorts in the northern province of Japan include: Rusutsu Resort, Furano Prince Snow Resorts, and Sapporo Teine Ski Resort, all within easy reach of New Chitose International airport.
Sapporo is also famous for beer and its internationally renowned Snow festival. Sapporo beer is in fact the oldest beer brand in Japan and dates back to 1876. More information can be found at The Sapporo Beer Museum which traces the city’s brewing history and more importantly, holds tastings of the beverage throughout the year.
Other notable attractions include the Sapporo snow festival which began in 1950 when high school students built a few snowmen in Odori Park. Since then, every year from February 4th to 11th, it has become an event that attracts over 2 million visitors each year. The spectacular ice sculptures include anything from the houses of parliament, dragons, ancient Egypt or Disneyland.
On its own, Sapporo is an ideal destination for tourists worldwide, yet with the addition of nearby ski resorts it holds an important role in the Scandinavian tourism market.
It’s easy to see why Finnair chose Sapporo as a destination for its Japanese flights. With its accessibility to some of the best skiing in the world, unique history, and thriving tourism – we’re certain more European airlines will soon follow suit.