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HONOLULU (AP)

Korean tourism to US expected to jump

The first South Korean tourists without visas are arriving in the United States.

Sixteen South Korean visitors traveled to Hawaii on Monday under a new visa waiver program, which will allow people from the Asian nation to use a passport rather than a visa.

Tourists from South Korea are expected to jump over the next few years under the program. Hawaii is trying to capitalize on the visa waiver.

The U.S. gets about 800,000 Korean visitors per year currently, and tourism officials predict that number could double in 2009.

President Bush decided in October to lift visa requirements for South Korean tourists.

Citizens from other countries, including Britain and Japan, are already eligible to enter the country without visas.

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