As part of the Administration's focus on maximizing opportunities for Chinese tourists to travel to Hawai`i, Governor Lingle met with key China travel leaders this week.
DBEDT Director Ted Liu participates in a memorandum of cooperation signing ceremony with Hainan Airlines Vice President Chen Ming.
On Monday, Governor Lingle, DBEDT Director Ted Liu, Office of Planning Executive Director Abbey Mayer, and Tina Yao of Hawai`i Tourism China met with Mr. Chen Feng, founder and chairman of the board of Hainan Airlines and Vice President Chen Ming to discuss the first scheduled nonstop airline service between China and Hawai`i, which is expected to start next year. During the meeting, Liu and Hainan Airlines signed a memorandum of cooperation to launch the service.
Chairman Chen shared that Governor Lingle's trip was critical in expressing Hawai`i's support for Hainan Airlines' direct flights to Honolulu and said the airline is currently planning to fly two flights per week.
U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
Governor Lingle advised Chairman Chen of her several recent meetings regarding the direct air service, including one with U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, and discussed the need to significantly increase Hawai`i's visitor industry marketing in China and the training of the Chinese salesforce selling Hawai`i tour packages.
The Governor's meeting with Ambassador Huntsman, which took place on her first day in China, continued discussions they had in Honolulu in August to ensure that obtaining a U.S. travel visa will not be an obstacle to traveling to Hawai`i or the rest of the United States.
Ambassador Huntsman confirmed that U.S. consular offices throughout China offer scheduled appointments and set aside specific times to process group leisure travel visa applications. To facilitate last-minute travel, which is especially important for Chinese travelers who want to participate in a conference or event in Hawai`i, the embassy also offers a last-minute visa application process.
Also this week, Governor Lingle visited the resort city of Sanya on Hainan Island, where she, Hawai`i officials and leaders of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawai`i met with Mr. Wang Yong, mayor of Sanya, to discuss Hawai`i-Sanya tourism partnerships, as well as increasing two-way travel between Hawai`i and China.
Chinese Tourism Promotion
Governor Lingle also met with Mr. Shao Qiwei, chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) to build on the progress made since Hawai`i and CNTA formed a cooperative agreement to increase two-way travel between Hawai`i and China in 2005.
While in Hong Kong, Governor Lingle met with Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Rita Lau. As part of her focus on Hong Kong’s economy, the secretary is also responsible for the tourism portfolio.
In Shanghai, Governor Lingle met with travel industry media representatives and business leaders and shared that travel to Hawai`i is a perfect complement to the intense and rapid-paced lifestyle of Shanghai and other Chinese cities.