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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Four more years in office potentially means more visits home to Hawaii for the First Family. Most of the reaction to their trips is positive, and many are hoping the President's next term will help open even more doors to the Asia-Pacific market.
In President Obama's first term, he made it clear, his administration would focus on Asia, and Hawaii has been the bridge that brings east and west together.
"Having the President of the United States coming from Hawaii has just been a tremendous boon because it focuses attention on Hawaii," says Juanita Liu, dean at the University of Hawaii's School of Travel Industry Management.
Liu says four more years of Obama gives Hawaii greater credibility, as well as visibility, especially to untapped Asian markets. "The Taiwanese are going to be coming here with the visa restrictions loosening up. And then, we have the South Koreans and the Chinese. In all of these areas, even if we get a small fraction of this business, we're going to do very well."
The Hawaii Tourism Authority agrees - the President understands the importance of making the U.S. more accessible to visitors. And HTA says when Mr. Obama visits his favorite haunts, he becomes a local tour guide, of sorts - exposing the public to a more intimate side of Hawaii.
Perhaps one of the businesses that may benefit the most is Kailua's Island Snow shave ice. The President makes it a point to stop by on most vacations, and they love the exposure.
"We would always enjoy more publicity," says Island Snow's Brockton Kodama. "We love him coming by. He's a great guy. He's great to talk to."
HTA says the next big boon to attract new visitors would be to land the Obama Presidential library - and that could lead to a big battle between his native Honolulu and hometown of Chicago.
HTA also points out that the President's visits here don't always get positive reaction. From a political standpoint, vacationing in Hawaii can give the appearance of a "boondoggle", despite this being Mr. Obama's native home.
On the other hand, bringing the APEC summit here - and wearing a suit - helped give the appearance that Hawaii is also a place to do business.