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2012 Kukulu Hale Awards

Recognizing Excellence in Hawaii's Commercial Real Estate Industry

(page 4 of 9)

Outstanding Service Award

APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee

“The White House is pleased to announce today that the 2011 APEC Leaders Meeting will take place in Honolulu on Nov. 12-13, 2011. The president looks forward to welcoming his fellow APEC economy leaders to the state where he was born and to showcasing Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage and hospitality.”

That statement, issued on June 3, 2010 by the White House press secretary, no doubt was music to the ears of Hawaii’s government officials, travel industry executives and other business leaders who had less than two months to prepare and submit a comprehensive proposal to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week, a gathering of 21 Asia-Pacific economies that would bring some 20,000 international delegates to the Islands, including President Barack Obama and 20 other APEC leaders.

Members of the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee included, from left:  Gregg Yamanaka, Mike McCartney, Dr. Charles Morrison, Peter Ho, Randy Perreira and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz.

When the official nod came in mid-2010 that Honolulu had won the bid, the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee was formed to take a leadership role in supporting the U.S. Department of State’s efforts to make APEC Leaders’ Week a success. This was the first time in the history of the state that Hawaii had the privilege of hosting such a preeminent, multinational government event, and the committee wanted to use this opportunity to develop and implement initiatives that only an event like this could provide. These included:

  • Demonstrating Hawaii’s ability to successfully host a high-level international meeting and leverage the opportunity to reposition the state as a global meetings destination.
  • Providing volunteer opportunities for Hawaii residents to interact with delegates and attendees and share the ‘aloha spirit’.
  • Exposing delegates and international media to Hawaii’s host culture and multi-cultural diversity, specifically highlighting the importance and impact of the Hawaiian culture and how it makes the Islands unique.
  • A Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase that would bring international exposure to selected industries and businesses from across the state.
  • Engaging the local community in preparation for and during APEC Leaders’ Week, drawing upon broad representation from private businesses, government, military, educational institutions, labor and the community at large to serve on the Host Committee and also developing opportunities for Hawaii’s youth and the local community to volunteer and participate in APEC-related events.

“The major challenge was in staging an event the size and magnitude of which had never been attempted in Hawaii before,” explained Host Committee Chairman Peter Ho. “Early on we knew our success would hinge on cooperation and coordination from all sectors of the community – business, labor and government.”

To help meet its goals, the Host Committee raised funds to support its efforts. This community ‘investment’ in APEC Hawaii totaled $4.05 million plus an estimated $1 million worth of in-kind donations of products and services to support the committee in six areas:

  • Marketing, communications and community outreach, including the Hawaii Innovation Showcase, Hawaiian Culture Showcase, informational programs and materials for delegates, and an APEC Hawaii website.
  • Youth-focused educational programs.
  • Hospitality for delegates, media and other attendees.
  • Volunteer development and training, to prepare more than 1,000 residents for volunteer positions and to provide training for airport personnel, hotel industry staff, state government leaders, and staff from the U.S. Department of State.
  • Logistics, including transportation for APEC attendees and informational signage.
  • Administrative support by four full-time staff, supplemented with staff loaned from private and public entities and volunteers.

With less than 18 months to plan and implement this significant undertaking, the Hawaii Host Committee was at the forefront of an unprecedented public and private partnership committed to working together to make APEC Leaders’ Week a success for delegates and the state of Hawaii.

While the direct economic impact of APEC Hawaii is not yet known, it is clear that Leaders’ Week activities generated significant revenue for the state. The real benefit, however, is how the Host Committee, through the generous support of its donors, has established the framework that positions Hawaii as a place for business innovation and investment. And they helped put the state clearly on the map as an international meeting destination.

“APEC was both a week-long infomercial and a wonderful testimonial for Hawaii as a legitimate place to conduct business on a global basis,” Ho says. “We received tremendously positive feedback from the White House, Secret Service, State Department and various business and governmental delegates themselves. I think the take-away is a positive one – that we are capable of doing things in a world-class way, on a world-class stage when we come together and work cohesively as a community. That may, in fact, become the defining lesson of APEC Hawaii 2011.”

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