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Hawaii eyes direct flight

A DIRECT flight from China to Hawaii may take off by the end of this year, Hawaii Tourism China told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Chinese tourists to Hawaii now have to transit through Japan.

According to Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who led a Hawaiian delegation to the Expo Shanghai, the number of Chinese visitors to Hawaii increased 23 percent in the first quarter.

Chinese visitors are also the highest spending group on the island, spending an average US$312 per person per day, compared with US$140 by North American visitors.

The state received 45,000 visitors from China last year and Lingle expects 60,000 this year and 90,000 in 2011.

Anita Jia with Hawaii Tourism China said they are negotiating with airline companies to launch a direct flight between China and Hawaii to accommodate the rising demand.

Details are pending, but the flight may be available by December. "We are happy to see the increase from China and we want to let Chinese visitors know that Hawaii is not just a beautiful beach resort," Lingle said.

"We have deep cultural connections with China. We offer a wide range of sports and activities on the island. And it is also a place for serious business."

Yesterday was the "Hawaii Day," which marked the highlight of "Hawaii Week" starting on Sunday with a variety of cultural performances.

Hawaiian entertainers, including guitarist and falsetto vocalist David Mario Montero, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jeff Peterson and Hula musician Blaine Kamalani Kia, put on two daily shows at the stage outside the USA Pavilion and America Square.

The stage is decorated with a size 400 XL aloha shirt, a Guinness World Record.

Student ambassadors in the USA Pavilion are also wearing aloha shirts this week. They will hand out macadamia chocolates for free to pavilion visitors.


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