Hawaii Tourism Rates Increase, Immigration Waiting Times Decrease

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has revealed that a new record was set in July, when over 816,000 travelers made their way to the Aloha State. This record rate brought over $1.4 billion to the state’s spending account. Most travelers were from the U.S., and the four major islands in Hawaii saw increases in visitors, including the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. With so many more travelers coming in, it is tough to imagine how waiting times could be decreasing. Thanks to some new machines, however, that is exactly what is happening

Immigration Wait Times in Honolulu

Deputy Director of the State Department of Transportation, Ross Higashi, has discussed how it takes approximately 30 minutes for most people to pass through immigration in Honolulu. The new machines being put in place will cut that time in half. He is expecting the process to only take about 10 minutes from here on out. Coming from the Pacific coast, many travelers have at least an 8 hour flight to get to Hawaii. As soon as they get there, they are forced to stand in a long line and wait even longer before heading to their destination. Reducing these wait times will allow travelers to get through the airport faster and start on their vacation sight-seeing sooner

How the Machines Work

Rather than having to speak with someone directly, the machines in place will allow those in the long immigration line to scan their own materials. Not only can passports be scanned into the machines, but so can fingerprints. Once approved, people will be able to get through the airport without trouble. These machines will cost $1.7 million to install for approximately 32 of them, but are well worth it to increase tourism rates, which plays such a large part of Hawaii culture and economy

A Further Approach


The governor of Hawaii is feeling confident about these time reducing machines, as he announced them in a recent travel conference. States like Chicago and Houston already have these machines in place, so Hawaii is just following suit with some of the larger travel destinations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has even mentioned a further approach to reducing wait times, by providing pre-clearance at select foreign airports. These methods to make traveling faster and more convenient for travelers are expected to make the states a great deal of money. Currently, the U.S. is in talks with Japan to have these pre-clearances set up. Before leaving a foreign airport, offices of Customs and Border Patrol will have the authority to say who is cleared and who isn’t. At least 10 foreign airports are expected to participate

With an increase in tourism rates, many more people are coming through the immigration line at the airport, trying to get to their vacation destination. Improving wait times will not only benefit the tourists who can get in quicker, but also the entire state of Hawaii. It will allow more people to come in and spend their cash, thus putting more money back into the economy.

And if you’ve decided to pack up and make Hawaii your home, do yourself a favor and print out this checklist from Royal Movers. Relocating to Hawaii will be much more lengthy process than moving to a town 300 miles up the interstate. But rest assured, as the number of visitors shows, there’s no other place like Hawaii

Veronica Davis
Veronica Davis is a former Marine, now a mom of two boys who has found a passion for freelance writing. She loves cooking and rarely misses something in the food industry, but she also enjoys writing about business, home and anything interesting.