Vibrant cultural diversity makes Hawai‘i ideal for hosting APEC

A hula troupe performs in front of Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States and was home to Hawaii’s monarchy. Today, the grounds of the historic Palace are often used to host special events for visiting groups. Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

The estimated 20,000 international attendees coming to Honolulu for the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting (APEC), November 7-13, will be doing their business in a place that embraces multiculturalism, and lives it every day. “Hawai‘i’s strategic location in the Pacific, our multicultural history and the aloha spirit of our people make our state the ideal place to host 21 leaders from the Asia-Pacific region for the 2011 APEC Leaders’ Week,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA).

“Furthermore, our world class facilities supported by our highly experienced tourism professionals will showcase Hawai‘i and our visitor industry to the world. The HTA, together with the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau and Hawai‘i Convention Center, remain committed to promoting the Hawaiian Islands as an ideal place to conduct business and host meetings and conventions.”

President Barack Obama, born and raised in Honolulu for most of his youth through high school, will be joined in Hawai‘i by 20 other heads of state from Pacific Rim nations to address issues of economic growth, trade, and investment. All the delegates, including international finance ministers, diplomats, policy-makers, and top CEOs, will experience an invigorating multicultural business meeting environment found nowhere else worldwide. Honolulu is APEC’s first U.S. host site since 1993.

Reflecting its Polynesian roots and native Hawaiian legacy, Hawai‘i is America’s only state with its own language and music (Hawaiian), and form of dance (hula). Historic ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is the only royal palace that stands on American soil and served as the home to Hawai‘i’s last two reigning monarchs in the late 19th century.

The perpetuation of the incomparable aloha spirit and Hawaiian cultural customs is seen and experienced in all walks of daily life, from the way people greet each other to the way they dress, foods they eat, and activities they enjoy.

Complementing Hawai‘i’s cultural heritage are the peoples of Asia and the South Pacific who, over the past century, have introduced their cultures, traditions, arts, languages, foods, and dress styles into a “local” way of life treasured by residents and enjoyed by visitors.

It is the inherent vibrancy created by this multiethnic diversity and Hawai‘i’s openness in the sharing of cultures that makes the “Crossroads of the Pacific” an especially appropriate choice to host APEC and any other business conference with international ties.

John Monahan, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau, noted, “Hawai‘i is the great melting pot of the Pacific and the epitome of a place where people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds live and work harmoniously. Groups find the Hawai‘i meeting experience uplifting and rewarding, partly because we are such a cosmopolitan society that is respectful and welcoming of all those who come here. It creates a very healthy, synergistic atmosphere for exchanging ideas and getting business accomplished.”

Much of the business of APEC will take place at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, located at the entrance to Waikïkï. The crown jewel of Hawai‘i’s meetings industry facilities, the five-star Hawai‘i Convention Center is designed with a “Hawaiian Sense of Place” and features more than $2-million worth of traditional and contemporary Hawai‘i-inspired artwork throughout the facility. The Hawai‘i Convention Center will host ministerial and business meetings during APEC, and also house the media center for the estimated 2,000 international journalists.

“Hawai‘i is a special place where people from around the world can do business while experiencing new cuisine, cultures and activities, yet feel right at home,” said Joe Davis, SMG general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center. “Our welcoming host culture and genuine aloha spirit make Hawai‘i an ideal gathering place that also offers shared convenience for global travel. We are excited to showcase this during APEC.”

Guiding Hawai‘i’s hosting of APEC is the APEC 2011 Hawai‘i Host Committee, a blue chip panel from the private and public sector led by Chairman Peter Ho, president and CEO of Bank of Hawai‘i, Executive Vice-Chair Timothy Johns, senior vice president of HMSA, Mike McCartney, Dr. Charles Morrison, president of The East-West Center, and Hawai‘i Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz.

Along with showcasing Hawai‘i’s strengths as a meetings destination, the Host Committee is highlighting other key Hawai‘i industry sectors during APEC: sustainability and clean energy, life and health sciences, and earth, ocean and sky sciences.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) is the state of Hawai‘i’s tourism agency and was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawai‘i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawai‘i’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. Under HTA’s direction, the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau provides marketing management services for the state’s conventions, meetings and incentives market segment throughout North America, and SMG markets and manages the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Source = Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau
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