Local tourism could get boost from Global Entry Program at DIA

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A new Global Entry Program at the Denver International Airport could bring in more international tourists and boost attendance at large-scale conventions in the Springs.

This week officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the expansion of the Global Entry Program, which allows for expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers coming to the U.S.

Under the program, travelers present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

The final rule expands the program to airports in Minneapolis, Charlotte, Denver and Phoenix, making the Global Entry program permanent, and expedited clearances available to 97 percent of international travelers to the U.S.

That’s good news for Colorado, said Doug Price, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO. Colorado is the fifth most-desired state to visit. More than 4.7 million visitors travel to the Pikes Peak region and spend nearly $1 billion.

“It affects really two audiences for us, one is in the leisure traveler who wants to come to the U.S. and visit the country,” Price said. “When they come to U.S. they tend to visit multiple destinations. We will be a part of that.”

The other travelers affected are those attending conferences and meetings held in the U.S. For example, the upcoming 28th National Space Symposium attracts international participants, Price said.

“I have been told by organizers of conferences that their international attendance has suffered because it is such a hassle to get into the U.S.” Price said.

Expanding and making the Global Entry Program permanent is a victory for 1.3 million travelers who already have experienced less hassle when traveling to the United States, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  Already, there are 131 Global Entry kiosks at 20 airports.

Since the program’s launch, members have used Global Entry kiosks more than 1.8 million times, saving CBP officers more than 36,450 inspection hours, Dow said.

“The impact of a program like Global Entry on U.S. destinations, and particularly in the meetings industry, is significant,” said Dow. “Those who regularly travel enjoy fewer burdens thanks to Global Entry, making it more likely they will attend meetings and conventions in the U.S.”