Hawaii Governor on Japanese Tourists

November 16, 2015 6:58 am
by David Jakeman

If you’re a Waikoloa immigration attorney, you likely know about the importance of Japanese immigrants and tourists for the Hawaiian economy and cultural life. That’s why it is not surprising to see that Hawaii’s governor David Ige wants Japanese travelers to be able to pass through immigration and customs even before they leave for Hawaii.

Tourist Bump

Ige made this announcement in front of a group of representatives of the tourism industry, who obviously have much to gain if there is an uptick in Japanese travelers coming as tourists or to visit extended family members who have immigrated to Hawaii. Ige made the announcement that Japanese visitors in Hawaii could increase by 20 percent if immigration and customs barriers were reduced.

Those familiar with the Hawaii tourism industry understand the importance of Japanese tourism. The close proximity of the Japan to the island paradise has quite an allure for Japanese tourists. Around 1.5 million travelers came from Japan to Hawaii in 2014, which surpassed visitors from any other country.

Special Consideration

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has previously announced that it would look into expanding such preclearance to several different airports. One of those includes the possibility of the Japanese airport in Tokyo, the Narita International Airport. Obviously, the Narita airport’s ability to prescreen tourists would facilitate travel and tourism at an unprecedented level.

Such special consideration is not unprecedented. Those who have traveled from Canada to the United States may have noticed that they pass through customs in Canadian airports before they arrive in the United States.1 This helps speed up the process and allows for more fluid travel. It is also nice to not have to worry about sitting in the long customs lines after a long flight.

Hawaiian families with Japanese immigrant backgrounds would likely enjoy the increased facility with which family members could travel to visit. Waikoloa immigration attorneys have helped many Japanese immigrants find a new home in Hawaii. One of the biggest challenges immigrants face can be the distance separating them from their families. If the Department of Homeland Security allows for these changes, it might make a difference in increasing travel.

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