Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, legislative leaders, representatives from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the visitor industry, and entertainers will officially kick off “Hawaii Week” at the Shanghai World Expo. The Expo is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors, 86 percent of whom will come from China.
Yesterday (Monday in China), Governor Lingle spoke to over 300 members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AMCHAM) at its Distinguished Speakers Series. The Governor covered a wide range of topics including Hawaii’s progress in promoting clean energy, the status of direct flights from China to Honolulu, and the steps her administration has taken to improve travel visa issuance procedures with the assistance of US ambassador Jon Huntsman. Governor Lingle was welcomed by Brenda Lei Foster, a former Hawaii resident who now serves as executive director of the Chamber, and Robert Roche, chairman of AMCHAM Shanghai.
The Governor was also a featured speaker at a forum hosted by the ELS American Education Center (ELSAEC) in Shanghai. Governor Lingle spoke to about 150 Chinese students about the benefits of studying at Hawaii’s colleges and universities. ELSAEC has been in existence for a little over three years and has increased the number of students it helps place in the United States from 600 in its first year to an estimated 6,000 this coming year.
On Sunday (China time), Governor Lingle was the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the Consul-General of Japan, Mr. Yutako Yokoi and his wife. The reception was held in a turn-of-the-century mansion in the former French section of historic Shanghai. The Governor and Consul-General discussed Japan-America-China relations, and the role Hawaii is playing in strengthening the diplomatic and economic ties between these three nations.
Also on Sunday, Hawaii Week festivities at the World Expo got underway with hula performances by members of Kumu Hula Blaine Kia’s Ka Laua‘e Foundation.
Additional updates and photos of the Governor’s economic mission to China can be found on Governor Lingle’s website at www.hawaii.gov/gov .