Ige's Japan trip highlights important tourism relationship - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ige's Japan trip highlights important tourism relationship

Gov. David Ige and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Image: Gov. Ige's Facebook) Gov. David Ige and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Image: Gov. Ige's Facebook)

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii Gov. David Ige says Japan is Hawaii's most important source of foreign tourists.

His recent trip there was intended to solidify that relationship.

Ige says outbound travel from Japan has been decreasing, but Hawaii was able to maintain a steady number of visitors from the country.

Over three days the governor had 19 meetings including one with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He says Japan wants to create more student exchange programs with Hawaii.

Ige says Hawaii also could host concerts and events targeted at Japanese tourists in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics when venues in Japan are booked.

Ige says tourism from Japan to Hawaii brings in an annual 1.5 million visitors who spend about $2.5 billion a year. That results in $260 million in state tax revenue.

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