Case calls for removing hurdles for Chinese tourists
Congressman Ed Case wants the Bush administration to remove barriers preventing Chinese from visiting Hawaii and the rest of the United States.
The barriers are stopping U.S. destinations from realizing the benefits of overseas travel by potentially hundreds of millions of tourists from China, Case, said last week.
The Democrat has written Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, saying two major issues are preventing the U.S. from gaining a competitive edge in China's travel market.
He cited delays in processing visa applications by U.S. consulates in China and the need to have China designate the U.S. an approved travel destination for its citizens.
"As our tourism industry both in Hawaii and elsewhere nationally looks to potential international markets for growth opportunities, the People Republic of China looms above all other countries," Case told Rice and Chertoff.
Case said Australia and European countries have aggressively removed barriers to outgoing China travel, reaping the benefits of rapid growth in tourism from China.
Inouye adds provisos to Coast Guard bill
Sen. Daniel Inouye introduced an amendment to a bill unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate that would authorize greater monetary support for the Coast Guard in its ongoing assistance to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.
The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2005, which provides funds for the guard's regular missions, authorized $8.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2006 and $8.8 billion for FY 2007. It passed Oct. 27.
Two provisions authorized $500 million for operations and maintenance, and capital improvements of facilities, vessels, and equipment.
Two provisions directly impact Hawaii. The first requires the Coast Guard to improve its detection and interdiction of illegal incursions by foreign fishing vessels into the Western/Central Pacific economic areas. The second requires the guard to present a proposal for construction of an enclosed hangar at the air station on Oahu's Barbers Point.
Council's '06 calendar available at libraries
Copies of the City Council's 2006 calendar of meetings and deadlines are now available at state libraries, satellite city halls, the city clerk's office and Honolulu Hale.
The calendar contains all the dates and times for committee and full City Council meetings and budget process deadlines. It also has City Council committee assignments and contact information for council members.
"I encourage residents to be involved with the issues and legislation being discussed by the council," said City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz. "An important part of the decision-making process includes public testimony."
Individuals may sign up to testify at public hearings through the city's Web site (www.co.honolulu.hi.us/council) or by calling 527-5590. Written testimony can be faxed to 527-5733.Story goes here.