Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie returned from nearly two weeks in Asia in mid-October, a trip during which visitor industry growth and streamlining the visa application process for Islands-bound Chinese travelers topped the agenda.

“I was encouraged by our embassy and by Chinese leaders to pursue expediting the visa process,” Abercrombie said in statement. “In order to attract more visitors from China, the State Department is working to streamline the visa process, [and] I’m happy my relationships in Washington put me in a position where I can be helpful in coordinating this effort.”

The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates 91,000 Chinese travelers will visit Hawaii in 2011, a jump of 37% from 2010.

Along with time spent in Beijing, Abercrombie made stops in Okinawa and Tokyo to meet with Japanese tourism officials and offer Hawaii’s ongoing support following the March earthquake and tsunami.
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