(BIVN) – The Hawaii tourism industry is applauding a new Global Entry pilot program that they believe will be to a great benefit to the islands.
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono issued a media release on Wednesday:
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a Global Entry pilot program with Japan. The pilot program allows up to 1,500 Japanese citizens as determined by the Government of Japan and CBP, who have received a promotional code to apply for Global Entry. The Global Entry Program allows expedited screening for trusted travelers visiting the United States, including TSA PreCheck privileges.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, nearly 1.5 million Japanese citizens visited Hawaii in 2016 — spending over $1 billion in the state’s economy and supporting over 26,000 jobs. The U.S. Commerce Department estimates nearly 3.6 million Japanese citizens visited the United States in 2016 and spent $16 billion, making Japan the fourth largest market for U.S. travel and tourism exports.
“Japan’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program further strengthens our longstanding alliance and U.S. ties to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Senator Hirono. “Implementing this new pilot program will expedite and simplify the process for Japanese visitor arrivals in Hawaii and better serve Hawaii’s largest international visitor market.”
Senator Hirono was an early advocate of Japan’s inclusion, leading a bipartisan letter in 2014 to encourage the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to add the country to the Global Entry Program. She has also led similar efforts in support of India and Singapore’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program. Singapore and India’s inclusion was finalized in June 2016 and June 2017, respectively.
“We appreciate Senator Hirono’s effort to get Japan added to the Global Entry Program. As the Hawaiian Island’s largest international source market of visitors, this decision is welcome news for our tourism industry and will further strengthen the strong cultural bond Hawaii already enjoys with Japan. The addition of Japan to this program will make it more enjoyable and convenient for Japanese residents to visit the Aloha State on leisure and business,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“This latest development in the nation’s travel program comes as great news,” said Mufi Hannemann, President and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “Japan is Hawaii’s oldest and largest Asian tourism partner, and any effort to streamline travel between us can only benefit the visitor industry, our local and national economies, and the cause of stronger relations among friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific region. We commend Senator Mazie Hirono and her colleagues for working so tirelessly to make this idea a reality and expect that the initial success will lead to expanded and permanent ease-of-entry for our millions of Japanese visitors.”
“Given our economic and diplomatic ties to Japan and, particularly here in Hawaii, our cultural ties, we are pleased to see this pilot program include Japan in the Global Entry Program that is supported by Senators Hirono, Schatz and other U.S. Senators,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Facilitating travel to Hawaii and the U.S. for visitors from Japan, the largest inbound U.S. market from Asia, will serve to accommodate future growth in jobs and economic activity here in Hawaii and the U.S.”
“The ACCJ is pleased to work in collaboration with CBP and serve as a host site for Global Entry mobile enrollment. Members of the ACCJ greatly value the benefits of the Global Entry Program, which makes doing business easier, further supporting a strong U.S.-Japan economic partnership,” said American Chamber of Commerce in Japan President Christopher J. LaFleur.
The U.S. operates full Global Entry partnerships with the following countries: South Korea, the Netherlands, Panama, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, Argentina, and India. Canadian citizens are eligible for the Global Entry benefit via membership in the Nexus program.