November 01, 2017

Hirono: Taiwan’s Inclusion in Global Entry Strengthens Hawaii’s Visitor Industry

Program Allows Expedited Screening for Trusted Travelers, Strengthens Tourism & National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today announced that Taiwan has officially been added to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry program. This decision enables Taiwanese to apply for expedited customs clearance when visiting the United States. American citizens will also be extended similar benefits on arrival in Taiwan.

“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,” said Senator Hirono. “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.”

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, over 18,000 Taiwanese citizens visited Hawaii in 2016 -- contributing over $36 million in the state’s economy and supporting over 400 jobs. In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department estimates approximately 463,000 Taiwanese citizens visited the United States in 2016 and spent $2.2 billion, placing Taiwan among the top 20 markets for U.S. travel and tourism exports.  

Senator Hirono is a longtime advocate of expanding the Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs to grow Hawaii’s international visitor industry, and was instrumental to Taiwan’s inclusion. In 2015, Senator Hirono led a bipartisan letter to encourage the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend Taiwan’s Global Entry membership. In addition, she supported Taiwan joining the Visa Waiver Program which was implemented in 2012. Senator Hirono has also led similar efforts in support of Japan, India, and Singapore’s inclusion in the Global Entry program.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association supported Senator Hirono’s effort.

“Hawaii’s tourism industry is grateful that Senator Hirono continues to champion the Hawaiian Islands as a premier international travel destination through the Global Entry Program,” said George D. Szigeti, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “The Senator’s successful efforts to gain approval for Taiwan’s inclusion in this program supports efforts to encourage more of Taiwan’s citizens to book travel to and within the Hawaiian Islands. Last year, travelers from Taiwan generated for Hawaii $4.2 million in State tax revenue and supported 441 jobs. As more of Taiwan’s travelers utilize the program to explore the islands, the economic benefits will continue to broaden throughout the State.”

“Expanding this valuable and trusted traveler program to include Taiwan and as part of a reciprocal agreement with the U.S. is certainly good news for both travelers and businesses in Hawaii,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Having visited Taiwan earlier this year and signing an MOU 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.”

“We’re very pleased that Senator Hirono continues to make significant progress in stimulating safe, secure travel from abroad by expanding the Global Entry Program to our Asian allies,” said Mufi Hannemann, President and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “We hope that streamlining entry for Taiwanese citizens will be a catalyst for more travel to the Hawaiian Islands from this large tourism market, and also ensure that they are made to feel welcome in our home. As our hospitality industry works to compete against rival destinations, Senator Hirono’s efforts can only help our economy and homeland security.”

Taiwan joins Canada, South Korea, the Netherlands, Panama, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, Argentina, and India as participants in CBP’s Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs.