HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2011 APEC Summit meetings will bring 21 world leaders and 20,000 visitors to the state, and it's expected to pump millions of dollars into the state's economy, but hosting the nine day event comes with a big price tag. The cost will be $28 million dollars to start, and that number will increase as the summit draws near.
Hawaii's Senators, Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, gathered with Governor Linda Lingle and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for a big announcement about the summit which is slated for November 12-20, 2011. The summit will brings a challenge and an opportunity. The city and county of Honolulu will pull $14 million from this fiscal year, and $14 million from next, just to cover the cost of safety, security, training and preparation..
Mayor Hannemann calls this the event the Olympics of international business, " We were planning months ago and we are planning up to the first day in 2011-- that our first responders will be able to work with the state offIcials military and federal people to do what is needed to move this forward," says Hannemen.
A global event like the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit will disrupt the daily lives of Honolulu residents during the event. There will be massive traffic around the convention center, and the possibility of huge protests like we've seen at G-20 summits. Because this can be considered a national special security event, the governor is seeking tens of millions of dollars of federal money to help offset the cost.
"That would be very important for this event helping the impact on the state and city resources, in the long term this is a once in a lifetime event to showcase our state like we've wanted to but never been given the opportunity," Says Governor Lingle.
On top of that $28 million, the city is also planning some major beautification projects. It will start with Waikiki where they will be adding a protective coating to the mauka sidewalks on Kalakaua Avenue so it will match the makai side and look more uniform.
Also, as world leaders arrive at the airport and are escorted drive down Nimitz Highway to their hotels in Waikiki, the mayor insists on a good first impression, " Nimitz is in need of a major overhaul, it is a state highway and we will do what we can to help the state in that regard. This should be looked upon as a way to beautify the city and then the benefits will extend beyond APEC itself.
Meanwhile, the 11 members of the event's local host committee were announced Tuesday. They include Lingle, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood. It will be chaired by Bank of Hawaii Chairman Peter Ho.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.