Think About It: Chinese New Here

February 6, 2012

Think About It: Chinese New Here

More and more efforts are being made by local tourism authorities, business leaders, and government officials to ingratiate themselves with and educate tour packagers and tour agencies in China. This is a good move that needs to continue, in earnest. While the U.S. is home to an estimated 10-million millionaires, China now has over one-million millionaires, a number sure to grow in the years to come. Whether it's for business reasons or simply for a vacation, the geometric increases in wealth for individuals in China makes that country of 1.3-billion people fertile ground to help grow or at least sustain our tourism industry, especially when things get tough in Canada, Japan, or with the mainland U.S. economy.

With great help from the new visa program that includes waivers and expedited processing that will allow more visitors from China to come here without huge hassles and a lengthy waiting period, Hawaii has an opportunity to share its shores with a whole new group of guests. And as we try to figure out, year after year, ways to recapture visitors who might seek new vistas or activities, China is relatively uncharted territory, and thus almost all of the incoming visitors will be first-time guests who will hopefully spread the word about the aloha state.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has done a good job of advance planning for this visa waiver program, with offices already established in Beijing and Shanghai and a regular presence at tourism-related events in China for the past few years. Kauai saw a group of business types and their families visit two weeks ago and another Chinese group arrived this week. This growing partnership between Hawaii and China bodes well for our visitor fortunes and should be encouraged and fostered in every way possible in the years ahead. Think about it…

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