Preclearance Will Allow Direct Foreign Travel to Neighbor Islands
By Maui Now Staff
Today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intends to expand preclearance to 10 new foreign airports, including Japan’s Narita International Airport, is great news for Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry, said Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority President and CEO George Szigeti in a statement released yesterday.
Japan remains the state’s largest international market, with more than 1.5 million visitors coming to the islands in 2014, making up 18 percent of visitors to the islands.
“Preclearance at Narita, one of the busiest international airports in Asia, will provide greater ease of access and save time for travelers departing Japan when they arrive in the Hawaiian Islands,” said Szigeti.
One of the major initiatives for the HTA is to distribute visitors across all of the Hawaiian Islands.
“Preclearance would allow for direct travel from Narita to the Neighbor Islands without having to transit at Honolulu International Airport, currently the state’s only airport with customs and border patrol,” said Szigeti. “It would also provide relief for other international travelers to the state, lessening the total number of visitors having to go through customs in Honolulu.
Since Narita Airport is a major international hub for other countries in Asia, preclearance at Narita could also help to stimulate growth from other markets that transit through Japan.
“On behalf of the HTA, we would like to extend a sincere mahalo to Hawaiʻi’s congressional delegation for their hard work and dedication in supporting this important initiative for Hawaiʻi and our visitor industry,” Szigeti concluded.