Hawaii says 'aloha' to more Chinese visitors

Hawaii says 'aloha' to more Chinese visitors
Visitors watch lava enter the Pacific Ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.
PHOTO: China Daily/Asia News Network

Hawaii is introducing new initiatives to lure Chinese travellers.

The island destination hosted a promotional event that brought together its tourism authority, hotel and airline representatives, and Chinese tour operators earlier this month.

A health-themed programme has been launched to target urban women this year, managing director of Hawaii Tourism's China operations Reene Ho Phang says.

"We will integrate rich outdoor resources, such as surfing, parachuting and helicopter touring, to bring healthy and happy lifestyles in Hawaii to Chinese tourists," Reene says.

About 170,000 Chinese travelled to Hawaii in 2016, up 3 per cent over the previous year.

Over 80 per cent were first-time visitors.

More than 122 million Chinese made outbound trips last year, international tourism consultancy IPK International reports.

The Beijing event is one of the many ways Hawaii is trying to gain a bigger slice of the Chinese market.

"We've seen an increase in the duration of stay by Chinese tourists," Phang says.

Chinese spend six and a half days on average.

And Chinese spending topped all the other travellers' at $365 a day.

Tour services have launched programs to cater to Chinese visitors.

Molokini, an uninhabited islet in Maui, Hawaii.​Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

"The Chinese traveller is very sophisticated and seeks out new experiences," says Jerry Gibson, a senior official with Hilton Hawaii.

"We want to expose both our travel partners and the travellers themselves to a destination that can fulfil every need and expectation."

Hilton offers a customised experience catering to Chinese visitors. The amenities and services include a welcome note in Chinese, Chinese TV channels, teakettles and Chinese food.

Hawaiian Airlines has introduced a new cabin offering seats that recline until flat for flights between Beijing and Honolulu this year.

The company started offering three weekly flights between Beijing and Honolulu in 2014.

Visitors enjoy colorful beaches, meandering highways and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Many landmarks are admission free.

Chinese particularly enjoy low-tax shopping and historical sites.

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