The CEO of Hawaiian Airlines says Hawaii’s hospitality industry must do more to make Chinese visitors feel welcome.
Mark Dunkerley told a retailers’ convention on Thursday that the state is unprepared for the potential number of Chinese visitors the state could receive. A survey found that Chinese visitors do not see Hawaii as a friendly destination, he said.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Dunkerley noted several obstacles for Hawaii to tap into the potentially vast Chinese market. Those include a lack of mid- and low-priced hotels, not enough promotion in China and too few Mandarin speakers in Waikiki.
Dunkerley said Japanese visitors to Hawaii last year outnumbered Chinese visitors more than 10-to-1. But he notes that China’s enormous population and prosperity hold promise. Chinese visitors’ average spending in the state was the most of any region, at $397.30 per day.
Hawaiian Airlines last week inaugurated thrice-weekly nonstop flights to Beijing. Dunkerley said the challenge in selling tickets is wrapped up in Hawaii’s reputation in China, which he says the whole industry needs to address.
Read more at USA Today.