Maui Business

Hawaii Host Committee Sees Positive Results from APEC

November 15, 2011, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated November 15, 1:41 PM
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By Sonia Isotov

President Barack Obama speaking at APEC. Photo courtesy of HawaiiNewsNow.

After two years of preparation and planning, Hawai‘i showed the global community that it is a world-class business destination by serving as host for the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week and CEO Summit last week.

This sentiment was reflected during a speech at a reception for APEC leaders that was hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

During his remarks, the Hawaii Host Committee reports that the president said that he “could not imagine a more fitting place than my home state of Hawai‘i. Here we are literally in the center of the Pacific. Here we’re reminded of the progress that’s possible when people of different backgrounds and beliefs come together. This is the most diverse state in our nation, home to so many races and immigrants and Americans who trace their roots back to many of your countries. Hawaii’s not perfect but I think Hawaii comes about as close as you’ll come to a true melting pot of cultures. Here we’re a single ‘ohana, one family.”

Based on the logistical coordination of the summit, as well as the positive feedback received from the State Department and APEC delegates, the Hawaii Host Committee is reporting that Hawaii’s efforts to host the high-level summit are being described as outstanding.

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And Hawaii Host Committee Chair, Peter Ho expressed in a written statement that Hawaii is already experiencing the benefits of hosting one the world’s largest governmental, economic gatherings.

Barack Obama addresses the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit leaders plenary session in Kapolei, Hawaii as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right listen. Photo courtesy of HawaiiNewsNow, and AP Photo/Chris Carlson.

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“When we began the planning process, we already knew that there would be strong benefits to our community. When you look at the spending local contractors, funding for security and first responders, and the expected job creation from beautification and infrastructure improvements that were accelerated, we already anticipated strong opportunities for economic stimulus from APEC,” Ho said.

“We realize that there were some challenges and inconveniences. And we want to thank Hawaii residents and businesses for their patience, understanding and support. Their sense of hospitality was key to making APEC a success,” added Ho.

The Hawaii Host Committee counted approximately 1,200 registered media organizations that covered the summit and as of November 14, more than 8,000 news stories mentioning APEC and Hawaii were listed in Google News, that number growing. Powerful images of world leaders conducting business with Hawaii in the backdrop sent out messages that Hawaii is not only a wonderful place to visit, but also great place to conduct business.

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“The worldwide media coverage has far exceeded our expectations,” said Ho. “Our goal was to strengthen our image as an attractive place to do business. And every story that mentions Hawaii in the context of APEC and the important government and trade discussions that are happening, helps raise awareness and positions our state as a serious business destination.”

Although it is still too early to assess the exact numbers, some businesses are reporting good results during APEC Leaders’ Week.

“From the beginning, we have always understood that the short-term economic gain was not the primary benefit of hosting APEC,” said Ho. “An event like APEC will always affect businesses in ways. But we are pleased that some businesses have seen positive results during APEC Leaders’ Week.”

“APEC was a positive experience for Quiksilver at all levels,” said George Kam of Quiksilver, in the same statement. “The APEC attendees were great customers. And we had several delegates, dignitaries and media come through our stores, which was very exciting for our employees. What was most satisfying was the positive responses we heard from all of the APEC attendees. They were happy to be in Hawai‘i and thought the summit was a great success. APEC allowed us an opportunity to share our best aloha to the world.”

“DFS Group has experience with previous APEC summits, including the APEC summits held in Australia and Singapore,” said Sharon Weiner, vice president of corporate communications and government relations for DFS Group. “Our results for Hawai‘i have been much stronger than what we experienced in Australia and Singapore. And our revenue during Leaders’ Week has surpassed our goals. In addition, we had the honor of unexpectedly hosting the president of Peru who decided to stop by the DFS Galleria to shop. It created a lot of buzz in the store and was an exciting event for our employees and customers.”

The Hawaii Host Committee also reported that a comprehensive economic impact analysis is being conducted with results expected by the end of the year.

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