THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

52

TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2008

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM AND THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS TO INCREASE VISITORS FROM TAIWAN, AND REQUESTING THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO EXPAND THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM TO INCLUDE TAIWAN.

 

 


     WHEREAS, in 2007, 587,000 visitors from Taiwan arrived in the United States, representing just 6.5 per cent of the total outbound travelers from Taiwan; and

 

     WHEREAS, the 6.5 per cent figure for 2007 was a continuing decline from 6.8 per cent from 2006, and a ten per cent decline from 2005 of travelers from Taiwan to the United States; and

 

     WHEREAS, the number of Taiwanese visitors to Hawaii in 2006 was approximately 15,450 visitors, not a significant percentage of all visitors to Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, the data indicates that the Taiwan visitor market is a huge potential source of tourists to Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, promotion of diversification of Hawaii's tourism markets is a logical and important public policy goal that helps to mitigate the adverse impacts of a volatile tourism industry; and

 

     WHEREAS, Hawaii needs to be promoted in Taiwan as a tourism destination to increase the number of visitors from Taiwan, which coincidentally share many of the same ethnic and cultural traits as Hawaii residents; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Visa Waiver Program of the United States allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to ninety days without having to obtain a visa, with all participating countries being developed countries; and

 

     WHEREAS, Taiwan, though developed, is not a participant in the Visa Waiver Program; and

 

     WHEREAS, the federal Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Act of 2007, Public Law 110-53 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a pilot program to expand visa waivers to qualifying countries; and

 

     WHEREAS, a visa waiver may be granted to a country if:

 

     (1)  The country meets all security requirements of the Act;

 

     (2)  The Secretary of Homeland Security determines that the totality of the country's security risk mitigation measures provide assurance that the country's participation in the program would not compromise the law enforcement, security interests, or enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States;

 

     (3)  There has been a sustained reduction in the rate of refusals for nonimmigrant visas for nationals of the country and conditions exist to continue such reduction;

 

     (4)  The country cooperated with the government of the United States on counterterrorism initiatives, information sharing, and preventing terrorist travel before the date of its designation as a program country, and the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State determine that such cooperation will continue; and

 

     (5)  The rate of refusals for nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of the country during the previous full fiscal year was not more than ten per cent or the visa overstay rate for the country for the previous full fiscal year has not exceeded the maximum established visa overstay rate; and

 

     WHEREAS, Taiwan meets each of the foregoing requirements; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are requested to implement programs to increase the number of visitors from Taiwan to the maximum extent possible; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Department of Homeland Security are requested to add Taiwan to the list of visa waivers; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are requested to assist and cooperate with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Department of Homeland Security to facilitate the inclusion of Taiwan on the visa waiver list; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism is requested to develop a list of Hawaii-made products appropriate for exportation to Taiwan; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of the State Department, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Governor of the State of Hawaii, Director of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Executive Director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and each member of Hawaii's Congressional Delegation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title: 

Taiwan Visa Waiver