Hainan Air,
HVCB deal will
promote isle tourism

Visitors from China could hit
1 million, the airline says

Associated Press

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau yesterday announced an agreement with Hainan Airline Group, China's fourth largest airline, to promote tourism from China to Hawaii.

Hainan Air Aside from promoting tourism, the state agency also will assist Chinese with applications for tourist visas, the Visitors and Convention Bureau said in a news release.

"For the past several years, HVCB has been diligently laying the groundwork to position Hawaii as a primary travel choice for Chinese visiting abroad," said Tony Vericella, president and chief executive officer of the Visitors and Convention Bureau. "The agreement with Hainan Airline Group is another important step in the focused marketing efforts to enhance Hawaii's standing with China's travel industry."

In addition to general tourism, the Hawaii agency also will target specific niche groups such as environmental tourists, sports fans and those interested in the life of former Hawaii resident Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the 1911 revolution that ended imperial rule, who is revered as the founder of modern China.

Chen Feng, chairman of Hainan Airline Group, said the agreement could boost Chinese visitors to Hawaii by several hundred thousand a year.

"One million or more visitors is not out of the question, as that is a small proportion of China's total demand for overseas travel," he said.

Hainan will designate travel agencies in China to organize groups to visit Hawaii.

The Visitors and Convention Bureau said statistics from the China National Tourism Administration show 10.5 million Chinese traveled abroad in 2000, a 13 percent increase over the previous year.

Hainan Airline Group, founded 10 years ago, has assets of about $4 billion. With a fleet of about 80 aircraft, it operates more than 300 routes and serves roughly 100 domestic markets in China.

It also owns 10 hotels throughout China, including two resorts in Hainan Province, as well as two airports in southern China.

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