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Hawaii Eager to Further Tap Chinese Tourism Market

HONOLULU: “In 2019, the visitors from China ranked number one in terms of overall visitor expenditures per person for a day. We are eager to welcome these wonderful travelers to our shores,” Daniel Naho’opi’i, chief administrative officer of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), told over 100 guests from China and the United States here on Friday.

Titled “2023 China Hainan Night,” Friday’s event was designed to explore opportunities for future cooperation between south China’s Hainan Province and the US state of Hawaii, which established a sister relationship in 1992.

Among other topics like infrastructure and green energy, tourism cooperation was frequently raised at the event. Most attendees agreed that Hainan and Hawaii were well-known worldwide for their tropical environments, beautiful beaches, lush landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Similar to that of Hainan, the Hawaiian economy was severely rooted in agriculture and transitioned at some point to tourism, said Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii Sylvia Luke in her speech, noting that a surge of tourists and, more importantly, attracting the right type of tourists, was vital for both places to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very interesting to learn that Hawaii, with 1.4 million people saw about 10 million tourist land on our shores before the pandemic. Similarly, in Hainan, just with 9 million to 10 million people, a hundred million people landed on its shore,” she said, noting the two economies should share their expertise and opportunities in the post-COVID era. 

Kalani L Ka’ana’ana, HTA’s chief brand officer and a tourism industry veteran, told Xinhua the HTA is aware of the Chinese market’s potential.

“We’re really excited to be back in the China market. Obviously, during the pandemic, it was tough globally to promote the Hawaiian islands. We’re really excited to reopen to all of our guests from all over the world, but especially from China,” he said in an interview with Xinhua.

Ka’ana’ana said the recovery of China’s economy and the deep relationship between the people of Hawaii and China would help bring more Chinese tourists to the Rainbow State.

“My ancestors actually came from China and made their way to Hawaii, and here we are as children of this place. I think honoring that relationship is really the special opportunity that we have to build that relationship as we welcome visitors back to the Hawaiian islands from China,” said Ka’ana’ana.

Source : BangkokPost