State signs tourism, trade deals in China
Gov. Ben Cayetano signed trade and tourism agreements in China that state officials say will help Hawai'i businesses.
Cayetano signed a partnership agreement yesterday with the Beijing Tourism Group, the travel provider for the Beijing Olympics.
"This agreement with BTG will result in increased export of Hawai'i's specialized expertise in tourism, architectural and engineering services, and training," said Sharon Narimatsu, deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
"There are many opportunities in China for Hawai'i firms, especially for Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games."
Officials at the department said the agreement includes the involvement of Hawai'i companies in the renovation of about 70 hotels owned or controlled by the Beijing Tourism Group. BTG will also organize visits to Hawai'i for training, business and cultural exchange.
The partnership is part of the yearlong "Aloha China!" mission intended to establish better ties with China. Cayetano, his wife and about 25 state officials from the University of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau and business specialists left Saturday on an eight-day trip to Beijing and Shanghai.
Cayetano also signed an agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to improve business relations between China and Hawai'i. The agreement calls for the council to help Hawai'i develop business opportunities in six Chinese cities.
The state will, in turn, work to provide yearlong scholarships for two council executives through the new Freeman Foundation Asia-Pacific Leadership Training Program.
"In just two days of meetings, the educational institutions on this mission, including the East-West Center, University of Hawai'i and Hawai'i Pacific University, have reported discussions that will lead to actual training contracts that collectively will represent several million dollars in new revenues for Hawai'i," said Narimatsu, who is leading the "Aloha China!" mission.
Officials at the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said Chinese groups are expected to arrive in Hawai'i for training as early as February.