HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Preparations are on track for the Nov. 12 APEC Leaders' Meeting and the adjacent conferences that will bring at least 12,000 people to Hawaii including President Barack Obama and leaders of 20 other nations, according to members of the APEC Host Committee.
"It's crunch time, but we're going to be ready," said Peter Ho, CEO of Bank of Hawaii and chairman of the committee, in a briefing at Bankoh headquarters Wednesday. "This will be our best opportunity in our lifetimes to showcase Hawaii as a business meeting destination."
In a move that appears to raise the bar for other locales planning future Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summits, the committee has already helped the major delegations choose which hotels they will use as their bases of operation.
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, who is also an active member of the committee, said roadwork has been accelerated between Honolulu airport and the Waikiki tourist district, working on what he described as "the Nimitz experience."
Tim Johns, head of Bishop Museum and co-chairman of the committee, said they will need 1,000 to 2,000 volunteers and have lined up hundreds already, including translators and customer service sorts who will help people navigate the airport.
Hawaii universities are contributing many of these volunteers - Chaminade University will give students a full week off to perform these duties - and the East-West Center is playing a key role in planning. Booz Allen is contributing IT support. Carlsmith Ball is doing the committee's legal work pro bono.