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Asia Minute: Chinese Visitors Flocking to Korea and Japan

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Chinese visitors are coming to Hawai‘i at about the same rate they were a year ago.  That’s according to figures released this week by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. And those traveler numbers remain small compared to what’s happening in northeast Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

One day this week, about 45,000 Chinese visitors sat down together in South Korea for a dinner of fried chicken and beer.  Reuters reports they came on 158 different flights from across China…part of a sales incentive trip by a cosmetics company.

According to figures from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, that single dinner gathering equals the number of Chinese tourists visiting the entire state of Hawai‘i on an average day.  Fried chicken and beer is a popular pairing in Korea…but more to the point, it was featured in a Korean television drama that was an off the charts hit in mainland China.  That’s one factor drawing Chinese visitors to Korea….more than a million over the first two months of the year—up 17% from a year ago.

The Korea Tourism Organization announced this week that another Chinese incentive trip will bring 8,000 visitors in May…split into two groups so that Seoul hotels can handle the volume.  In fact, tourism officials say between 30 and 40 groups of more than a thousand Chinese each will visit South Korea on corporate incentive trips this year.

Chinese are also flocking to Japan…about 5-million last year.  That enthusiasm from China is part of why Japan this week doubled its overall goal for international visitors in 2020—to 40-million.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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