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Tourism Relations Between China and Hawaii Deepened

Tourism relations between China and Hawai‘i was deepened over the weekend with the signing of the Tourism Cooperative Agreement between the Jiangsu Tourism Administration and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

(L-R: Rep. Jon Burns, House Majority Leader, R-GA, Rep. Jan Jones, House Speaker Pro-Tempore, R-GA, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-CA, Sen. J. Kalani English, Hawai‘i Senate Majority Leader, Mme. Li Xiaolin, Pres., CPAFFC, Stephen Lakis, Pres.& CEO, SLLF, Rep. Scott Saiki, Hawai‘i House Majority Leader, Rep. Al Carson, House Speaker, R-ND) Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

(L-R: Rep. Jon Burns, House Majority Leader, R-GA, Rep. Jan Jones, House Speaker Pro-Tempore, R-GA, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-CA, Sen. J. Kalani English, Hawai‘i Senate Majority Leader, Mme. Li Xiaolin, Pres., CPAFFC, Stephen Lakis, Pres.& CEO, SLLF, Rep. Scott Saiki, Hawai‘i House Majority Leader, Rep. Al Carson, House Speaker, R-ND) Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

The significant cooperative agreement was reached at the first Sino-U.S. State and Provincial Leadership Summit being held June 25-26, 2016 in Honolulu. The agreement was the end result of thorough discussions on legislature, tourism, trade and economic partnerships between Hawai‘i and Jiangsu, a province which harbors a population of 79.7 million.

“With the declaration of 2016 being ‘U.S.-China Tourism Year’ by President Obama and China President Xi, it marks a significant tourism milestone for both countries and this memo of understanding further encourages collaboration for the future advancement of tourism,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Jiangsu Province is one of China’s most prosperous regions accounting for one-tenth of its GDP. This partnership between Jiangsu Tourism Administration and HTA serves our mutual interest and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese citizens from the province and other parts of the country to Hawai‘i.”

The summit was part of the fourth annual Conference of State Majority Leaders with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF). Majority leaders of state legislatures from across the country were in Hawai‘i for the meeting. State Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and State House Majority Leader Representative Scott Saiki were co-hosts of the conference.

“The impact of these meetings are substantial on so many levels,” said Sen. English on the success of the summit. “This was immensely important not only for building tourism in Hawai‘i, but also for furthering U.S. – China relations.  This agreement marks just the beginning of meaningful conversations and deepening state-level cooperation between the United States and China.”

Rep. Saiki echoed the significance of the meetings. “The Summit opened the doors to a renewed relationship between China, Hawai‘i, and other states to strengthen cultural, economic and political ties,” stated Rep. Saiki.

The Sino-US State and Provincial Leadership Summit is a direct result of an agreement reached between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping last September during President Xi’s visit to the U.S. The agreements endorsed by both Presidents included language specifically mentioning SLLF as a partner with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and is the sole organization that the Chinese will deal with at a state and local level.  Sen. English and Rep. Saiki traveled to China with 12 legislative leaders and a small contingent of SLLF Advisory Council members and staff in March of this year to initiate these friendship agreements.

For more information on SLLF, visit www.sllf.org

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