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            Mayors from throughout the United States and Japan will meet in Honolulu August 19-21, for the Ninth Japan-United States Mayors Fellowship Exchange Meeting.


            Mayor Mufi Hannemann is hosting the event, at the request of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  Hannemann is on the advisory board of the nonpartisan, 1,100-member organization and is chairman of its Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports Committee.


            Hannemann said, “It’s an honor to welcome my colleagues from Japan and the United States.  We’ll be exchanging ideas on environmental challenges, including solid waste, facing our municipalities, as well as other matters of mutual concern.  The conference will provide a great opportunity to showcase what the City is doing to protect and preserve our resources, through our 21st Century Ahupua‘a initiative, and give the mayors a taste of how we’re sustaining the development of Waikiki as a tourist destination.”


            The two top leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be participating:  President Douglas H. Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, New Jersey; and Tom Cochran, the executive director of the conference.  The president of the Japan Association of City Mayors, Akita Mayor Norihisa Satake, and the secretary general of the association, Tatsuro Yoshiyama, will attend.  They will be joined by 11 other U.S. and Japanese mayors.


            A key event will be a meeting of the Tourism Business Roundtable, where panelists will discuss ways to stimulate more international tourism.  Slated to participate are Mayor Hannemann, Mayor Palmer, Tom Cochran, and Chuck Merin, president of the Travel Business Roundtable.  Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will join the discussion.


            The group will offer perspectives on establishing a national policy on travel and tourism, federal legislative strategies, and tourism’s role in the 2008 Presidential elections.


            Mayor Hannemann said, “President Bush’s approval of the Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Act of 2007 will provide long-term support for our efforts to ease travel restrictions for visitors from overseas by improving the processing of international arrivals.  Congress is close to passing an international registered traveler program that will expedite screening and processing at our airports.  Just last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution I co-sponsored to push for visa reforms and other means of boosting travel from abroad.


            “But we’ve got to keep up the momentum.  The Travel Business Roundtable and the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be considering a number of resolutions and initiatives we can take to raise the profile of tourism at the national level through our mayors and cities, secure more money for tourism promotions, and ease federal restrictions that hinder travel.”


            Representatives of the news media may interview the tourism speakers on Tuesday, August 21, at 12:30 p.m., in the Hyatt Regency’s Elima Room.





Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Monday, August 20, 2007

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