APEC coming to Hawaii


POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

President Barack Obama is steering some tourism trade and international attention to his native Hawaii in a couple of years.

The president said today he will host the 2011 version of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hawaii. Obama announced his plans at the current APEC meeting in Singapore.

Obama told representatives of APEC's 21 member nations that he looks forward to seeing them in flowered shirts and grass skirts.

APEC's members include Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia and Vietnam.

Honolulu was one of four finalist cities to host the gathering of world leaders.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney said the APEC summit will bring about 10,000 participants to Hawaii.

But just as important, McCartney said, it will show that Hawaii is a place to do business and is not just a vacation destination.

“;It will be our opportunity to show that we're more than sun, sand, sea, surf and the spirit of aloha,”; Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.

The mayor said security was a factor in the choice of Honolulu as the APEC site.

Hannemann noted that Honolulu is one of the safest cities in America and “;has demonstrated time and time again its capability in overseeing security for visits by presidents, heads of state, the World Bank conference and so many other major events.”;

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said, “;The spotlight that will shine on Hawaii during the APEC meetings will remind the world that our culture and strategic location is the ideal site to gather global leaders and debate the needs of diverse society.”;

Star-Bulletin staff contributed to this report.