Hawaii hopes to cash in on new waves of Chinese visitors

Rex Johnson
Rex Johnson

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

DOWNTOWN HONOLULU (KHNL) - A small group of Chinese visitors is here in the islands but it could signify a big increase in tourism for the State.

Until recently, China did not allow their country's travel agencies to market group tours to the United States and Hawaii.

But now that is allowed, Hawaii is hoping to cash in on this waves of Chinese visitors.

It looks like any other other group of visitors to the state, a stop in downtown for pictures with King Kamehameha and a little history of our islands.

But this visit could be historical in its own right.

As these are the first travelers and Chinese tourism officials here under a new agreement between China and the U.S.

"Wholesale Travel Agents are now able to advertise in the media they are putting together tours to the U.S.," said Rex Johnson of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

That is expected to double the 60,000 Chinese visitors that already come to the islands.

With twice that amount expected the following year.

Chinese travel agencies are also planning for an increase in tourists. Their largest tour company already has Hawaii slated for two different trips.

"In the following times when we design itineraries this is a very important part of our itinerary because of the natural beauty," said Jie Liang, an interpreter.

Hawaii is the last stop for a 12 day tour of U.S. cities for this group.

But a tropical stop filled with sun, scenery and historical sights is one many were looking forward to.

"They are fond of spending their holiday in Hawaii with nice beaches and tropical beauty," said Liang.

And the verdict from these visitors, their smiles tell it all of a perfect trip to paradise.

"We have a nice memory of Hawaii very nice place, we feel the air is quite fresh!"

Now the hope is these fresh faces will boost the State's lagging tourism industry.

Hawaii has had a presence in China for four years developing interest from visitors, now that presence could pay off.