Hawai'i wins bid to host 2011 APEC Leaders Meeting

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Governor Linda Lingle Saturday said the selection of Hawai'i to host the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting is an affirmation of Hawai'i's strategic role as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region, and will help build a stronger economic foundation for Hawai'i's future.  President Barack Obama, who will host the Hawai'i meeting, announced Hawai'i's winning bid Saturday during the APEC Leaders Meeting being held in Singapore.

The Hawai'i meeting, scheduled for November 2011, will be the first APEC leaders meeting held in the United States since the first meeting convened on Blake Island, Washington in 1993.  The Hawai'i Convention Center will host the various meetings that will take place during the week.

The high-level international gathering is expected to attract over 10,000 participants from throughout the Asia-Pacific region to Hawai'i, including leaders from 21 APEC economies, senior government officials, business leaders, international economists, Asia-Pacific experts and worldwide media.

"Securing the 2011 APEC Leaders Meeting is a significant accomplishment for the State of Hawai'i as we continue to expand our state's strategic role as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region," said Governor Lingle. "Hawai'i has long been recognized around the world as a gathering place and for our unique ability to bridge diverse cultures and promote cooperation in working toward common goals such as clean energy, innovation, international trade, education and environmental protection.  Hosting APEC leaders in 2011 will further enhance relations with our Asia-Pacific neighbors, while building a stronger economic foundation for Hawai'i's future.

"We appreciate President Obama selecting Hawai'i for this important meeting and recognizing the significant role Hawai'i plays as America's most diverse and strategically located state," Governor Lingle added.

The Hawai'i bid, which was submitted in January 2009, was a collaborative effort between the Lingle-Aiona Administration, Hawai'i Tourism Authority, Hawai'i's tourism and business community, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawai'i's Congressional Delegation and the East-West Center.  Hawai'i was among several U.S. locations vying to host the 2011 APEC Leaders Meeting.

The joint effort will continue as Hawai'i government leaders, private sector officials, East-West Center administrators and others community leaders shift the focus to coordinating the logistics and details of the meeting with the White House, the U.S. State Department and other agencies.

"The cooperation and coordination between government and business in securing APEC for Hawai'i has been extraordinary," said Hawai'i State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert.  "We are thrilled that the President selected Hawai'i as the host site for the 2011 meeting.  Through the years Hawai'i has emphasized its strategic geographic location as the place 'where east meets west' and where serious business can be conducted.  The selection by the President to host APEC in Hawai'i affirms this positioning and builds on the foundation that we have established over the years.  We look forward to working with Hawai'i businesses and the community on delivering a successful 2011 APEC for the visiting economies, the United States and all the people of Hawai'i," added Wienert.

"The fact that the President is inviting his counterpart leaders to his native town is taken in many cultures as showing guests the highest respect, and Hawai'i is the world's most diverse Asia-Pacific community," said Charles E. Morrison, president, East-West Center.