Hawaii lures Chinese tourist market


Hawaii, California, and Las Vegas are among the U.S destinations that are currently vying for tourist dollars – or in this case tourist yuan – from the largely untapped market of China.

These U.S. destinations are significantly investing in marketing campaigns in China’s most populous regions, and are urging U.S. embassy officials and Chinese airlines to ease the logistical burdens of flying to the United States.

The financial gains from this investment could be substantial — particularly in Hawaii, the closest U.S. destination to China.

"It could be huge" for Hawaii, said Ted Sturdivant, who publishes a Hawaii travel guide for Chinese and Japanese tourists.

Gov. Linda Lingle said that attracting more Chinese tourists to Hawaii “will bring back a lot of jobs.”
According to the U.S. Travel Association half a million Chinese tourists travelled to U.S destinations in 2008.

That number is now expected to grow by double digits in each of the next four years mainly because of China’s growing economy and new wealth.
Chinese middle and upper classes each rivals the size of the entire U.S. population, so if the United States is successful in luring just a fraction of that population it would produce huge tourist numbers.

"Everybody looks at China and sees a country with 1.3 billion people and a growing economy, and they say, ‘Oh my God, it’s the greatest travel market that ever was,’" said Frank Haas, an instructor at the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii.

Hawaii’s tourism market has generally been propped up by two regions — the U.S. West Coast and Japan.

Both of these market segments and China declined this year despite a late 2007 agreement that China and U.S. signed lifting some travel barriers.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has budgeted a total of nearly $2.7 million this fiscal year for marketing in China and Korea, said David Uchiyama, HTA’s vice president of marketing.

That includes $447,000 to participate in the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, which begins in May.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F
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