Taiwan addition to Customs program could bring more visitors to Hawaii

By:  Janis L. Magin
Taiwan on Wednesday was added to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program, which will allow Taiwanese visitors to apply for expedited customs clearance at Honolulu International Airport and 53 other airports in the United States.

 “Taiwan’s inclusion in the Global Entry program further strengthens our ties to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and allows CBP to direct security resources to where they are most needed,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, an early supporter of the program, said in a statement. “I appreciate CBP’s work to finalize this program, which will benefit Hawaii’s visitor industry by making it easier for Taiwanese visitors to travel and do business in Hawaii and the United States.”

More than 18,000 visitors from Taiwan visited Hawaii last year, contributing more than $36 million to the state’s economy and supporting more than 400 jobs, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“Last year, travelers from Taiwan generated for Hawaii $4.2 million in state tax revenue and supported 441 jobs,” HTA President and CEO George Szigeti said in a statement. “As more of Taiwan’s travelers utilize the program to explore the islands, the economic benefits will continue to broaden throughout the state.”

The program will also be good for Hawaii businesses, said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

 “Having visited Taiwan earlier this year and signing a [memorandum of understanding] with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, we are pleased to see the strengthening of our abilities to promote travel, trade and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan,” she said in a statement.