Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen at USA Pavilion, 2018 Taipei ITF

November 23, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1842


(As Prepared for Delivery)

Ms. Brenda Tang, Chairperson of Discover America and General Manager of United Airlines, Mr. Milton Morinaga, Chairman of the Board of Director of Guam Visitors Bureau, USA Pavilion exhibitors, Ladies and gentlemen, Good Morning.

Welcome to the grand opening of the USA Pavilion at the 2018 Taipei International Travel Fair.

I am excited to be here with you to officially open the USA Pavilion.  This year we have 7 exhibitor booths representing U.S. territories, states, cities, airlines, and service providers.  I would like to encourage you to visit all the booths at the USA Pavilion.  I hear there are some wonderful promotional materials and prizes.

This year we are proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary for Taiwan’s participation in Global Entry and the six-year anniversary for Taiwan’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program.

Both “Trusted Traveler” programs are a testament of our shared commitment to travel facilitation and people-to-people ties.

We will also spend all of next year celebrating AIT and the Taiwan Relations Act’s 40’s anniversary.  As part of this celebration of 40 years of U.S.-Taiwan friendship, we are announcing next year a “Travel Year,” which means that all year long we will be engaged in activities and campaigns that promote two-way travel between Taiwan and the United States.

I often talk about my four priorities as AIT Director — better known as my “four promotes” or “sìge zēngjìn.”  Promote U.S.-Taiwan security cooperation; Promote the U.S.-Taiwan economic and commercial relationship; Promote Taiwan’s role in the global community; and Promote people-to-people ties.  Travel and Tourism is a topic close to my heart because, if you think about it, increased travel and tourism work directly towards two of those objectives bringing mutual economic benefits and strengthening people-to-people ties.

Considering the economic benefits—for both the United States and Taiwan, travel and tourism bring economic value to all businesses and individuals involved, including income generation and increased employment opportunities.

Since the launch of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program in Taiwan, Taiwan travel to the United States has increased over 60 percent.

The United States is the top long-haul destination for Taiwan’s outbound travelers and we welcomed approximately 475,000 Taiwan tourists last year, who spent over $2.2 billion on travel tourism goods.  What a win for Taiwan and the United States!

The Global Entry program launched last November has been a huge success, so much that a CBP team is returning to AIT the first week of December to conduct more enrollment interviews.

Beyond impressive economic indicators, travel and tourism also strengthen social and cultural ties between people.  Through travel, ideas are exchanged, communities are united across oceans, and preconceived notions about foreign cultures are replaced with understanding.  In this way, we can create networks that allow us to foster mutually beneficial relationships.

Thank you all again for supporting the USA Pavilion.

I hope you all enjoy the Taipei International Travel Fair.