Tourism is one of the most important sectors of Hawai‘i’s economy. According to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), tourism is the largest single source of private capital into Hawai‘i and is the biggest generator of jobs among the major economic sectors.

Senator Schatz has worked to grow tourism by improving the travel experience for both residents and visitors. In order to enable low-risk passengers to move quickly through checkpoint screening, Senator Schatz worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to expand its PreCheck Program in Hawai‘i.  As a result, Kahului Airport, Kona International Airport, and Lihue Airport were added to the list of airports with a TSA PreCheck option, making it easier for travelers to fly between the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawai‘i and the mainland.   Once fully implemented, Hawai‘i will be one of only seven states with at least four airports that offer this service that will result in reduced wait times for all passengers.

Tourism is not only an important economic driver, it brings people from all over the world together to promote greater understanding of other cultures.  As a member of the Senate Tourism Caucus, Senator Schatz cosponsored a resolution recognizing National Travel and Tourism Week and these important contributions of tourism to our nation.

As the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness, and Innovation, Senator Schatz continues his work to expand tourism, grow our economy, and create new jobs in Hawai‘i.  While serving in the State Legislature, Schatz supported greater autonomy and increased funding for the HTA.  In addition, he supported tax credits for hotel construction and remodeling to ensure Hawai‘i's hotels would remain competitive with the world’s finest resorts. 

As Lieutenant Governor, Senator Schatz served on the Host Committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Hawai‘i.  To prepare for the APEC conference, Schatz led the effort to improve the infrastructure around Waikiki and the Honolulu Airport.  According to HTA, the APEC conference, which brought in over 20,000 government leaders from around the world, boosted the hospitality industry in Waikiki and brought in $3.7 million that year. More importantly, the successful conference showcased Hawai‘i’s ability to serve as a world-class destination for high-level meetings and conferences.

Senator Schatz has continued his advocacy in bringing major international conferences to Hawai‘i by successfully urging the State Department to support Hawai‘i’s bid to host the prestigious International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Conference in 2016, a mission he initiated as Lieutenant Governor. 

Senator Schatz recognizes the value of our Island home. Hawai‘i’s natural beauty, unique culture and vibrant people make the Aloha State a premiere visitor destination.  Senator Schatz will continue to work to expand Hawai‘i’s tourism sector by helping to secure funds that will improve Hawai‘i’s infrastructure, forge new international bonds, and promote Hawai‘i‘s rich heritage.