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November 9, 2009

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Air trip gets easier: China to Hawaii

HAWAII'S governor hopes direct flights between the Chinese mainland and Hawaii - taking off early next year - will heat up Hawaii-bound tourism.

And vice versa.

Hainan Airlines will start flying from Beijing to Honolulu early next year, Linda Lingle, governor of the State of Hawaii, said in Shanghai last week.

The US Department of Transportation has approved up to three flights a week.

Hainan Airlines will begin with one flight a week, increasing the number as the market grows, Lingle said.

She said the direct flights will benefit both Chinese and Hawaii tourists.

"We will try to make the visa process easier," she added, "and will not let visa application become a barrier for Chinese tourists to Hawaii."

Shanghai tour agencies said tourists going to Hawaii must now transfer in Tokyo, or go to the US mainland first and then fly to Hawaii.

Next year, travelers in the city should be able to connect to the Hawaii-going flight inside China.

"People will save time and cost," said Dong Ming, of the Jinjiang International Travel Service Co Ltd. "But now we cannot confirm how much they will save."


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