Agreement Follows Hirono-led Bipartisan Effort in the Senate to Boost Tourism, Expedite Customs Process
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) hailed an agreement reached between the United States and Australia to launch a pilot program allowing Australian citizens to apply for expedited customs clearance through U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program. Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is one of 57 airports nationwide that participate in the program.
“Expanding Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs helps grow Hawaii’s international visitor industry while facilitating secure travel to our country,” Senator Hirono said. “Last year, Australian visitors spent more than $872 million and supported over 10,000 jobs in Hawaii, and we can only expect Australian visitor arrivals and spending to grow with expedited screening provided by the Global Entry program.”
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, over 324,000 Australian citizens visited Hawaii in 2017. Australia represents Hawaii’s third largest international visitor market after Japan (1.5 million visitors) and Canada (518,000 visitors). In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department estimates approximately 1.3 million Australians visited the United States in 2017 and spent $8.6 billion, placing Australia among the top 10 markets for U.S. travel and tourism exports.
In August 2018, Senator Hirono led a bipartisan coalition of 26 Senators to urge Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to approve Australia’s inclusion in the Global Entry program. Senator Hirono is a longtime advocate of expanding Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs that help grow Hawaii’s international visitor industry while promoting more effective security processes. Senator Hirono has also led similar efforts in support of Japan, India, Singapore and Taiwan’s inclusion in the Global Entry program.
The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Airports Council International – North America supported Senator Hirono’s effort.
"Hawaii's hotel and tourism industries welcome the addition of Australia, one of our top travel markets, to the Global Entry Program,” said Mufi Hannemann, President and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “Given the very close and longstanding ties between our nations, both as allies and trading partners, we're delighted that Senator Hirono has made ease-of-travel a legislative priority and continued to demonstrate the leadership we need to support the state's number-one contributor to the economy.”
“The agreement signed to expand this valuable and trusted traveler program to include Australia is certainly good news for both travelers and businesses in Hawaii,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “We are pleased to see the strengthening of our abilities to promote travel, trade and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Australia which is a major international market for Hawaii exports.”
“Airports applaud the addition of Australia to the Global Entry program,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America. “The United States and Australia already enjoy a great deal of business and leisure travel between the two countries. Today’s announcement is a big step forward for more as Global Entry offers trusted travelers the opportunity to expedite their international arrivals process at dozens of U.S. airports and preclearance locations.”
Also supporting Sen. Hirono’s letter are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Travel Association, Global Business Travel Association, and the American Society of Travel Advisors.
Once finalized, Australia would join Canada, Mexico, South Korea, the Netherlands, Panama, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, Argentina, India, and Taiwan as participants in CBP’s Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs. In addition to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents may also apply for Global Entry membership.