MAYOR HANNEMANN TO BOOST SISTER-CITY RELATIONSHIPS, BUSINESS, TOURISM DURING VISIT TO CHINA, SOUTH KOREA OCTOBER 9-16
Mayor Mufi Hannemann will visit sister cities in China and South Korea from October 9 to 16 to meet with government officials, as well as business and community leaders, to strengthen sister-city relationships, promote business opportunities, and bolster travel and tourism to Honolulu.
"I have always maintained that part of a mayor's job is to promote the assets of his city and maximize economic opportunities," said Mayor Hannemann.
"I have extensive experience in this role, having been the director of the state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, as well as a former city councilmember who promoted sister-city relationships as a vehicle for economic development.
"This business trip builds on the relationships and success of my previous visits to China and Korea, and reinforces Honolulu's vital role as the gateway between Asia and the United States.
"China and South Korea represent the greatest economic growth opportunities for the City and County of Honolulu. As two of the fastest growing economies in the world, China and South Korea also had a combined total of over 64-million outbound travelers in 2006. My goal throughout this trip is to promote Oahu's tourism and investment opportunities, and fortify our sister-city relationships in these countries."
He will be accompanied on the first segment of the trip to Hong Kong and Zhongshan, China, by Donna May Woo, first deputy corporation counsel for the City and County of Honolulu. Prior to her current appointment, Donna served eight years as the state's first assistant ombudsman and 12 prior years as the City's deputy corporation counsel. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Donna is fluent in Cantonese.
Accompanying him on the second leg to Incheon and Seoul will be Ann Chung, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, who is responsible for Honolulu's sister-city relationships. Prior to her current appointment, Ann worked seven years to help diversify Hawaii's economy as the director and chief lobbyist for Hawaii's first technology trade association. She also brings over 20 years of marketing experience in technology and travel-related industries to the City's economic development efforts. Born in Seoul before immigrating to Honolulu, Ann is conversant in Korean.
A delegation of business leaders from Honolulu's Chinese and Korean communities will travel with the mayor and participate in various activities throughout the trip.
In Hong Kong, Mayor Hannemann will meet with key business and government leaders to promote tourism and investment opportunities on Oahu. He will also give a one-hour TV interview with the Network of the World (NOW) Business News Channel.
The mayor will then visit Zhongshan, China, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its sister-city relationship with Honolulu. Hosted by the Zhongshan municipal government, his schedule includes a private meeting with Zhongshan Mayor Li Quhong to discuss urban planning and business exchange opportunities.
He will also visit the Zhongshan Cultural and Arts Center and the Zhongshan People's Hospital, where he will present a donation of medical equipment worth $15,000 on behalf of the United Chinese Society.
He will also do a wreath presentation at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, known as "the father of modern China," was born in Zhongshan, but spent his boyhood years in Honolulu and attended Iolani and Punahou Schools.
Mayor Hannemann's visit to Zhongshan is also an important part of the City's planned November 12, 2007, dedication of a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the renaming of the City's Chinatown Gateway Park to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park. The statue, depicting Sun at age 13, reinforces this special connection between Zhongshan and Honolulu. Having co-authored the original resolution establishing this sister-city relationship as a councilmember in 1997, Mayor Hannemann's will personally invite Zhongshan officials to the dedication ceremonies being planned in Honolulu.
The second leg of the mayor's trip is to South Korea, where he will first visit Honolulu's sister-city, Incheon. In 2006, Mayor Hannemann's pre-scheduled visit to Incheon was unexpectedly canceled due to a major earthquake in Hawaii that required his immediate return.
Hosted by the Incheon Metropolitan City, the Mayor will promote Honolulu at the Incheon Sister-Cities Summit attended by mayors and delegations from six different countries, and take part in Incheon's annual Citizens Day Ceremony.
Mayor Hannemann will also meet with Incheon Mayor Sang-soo Ahn and other city officials to discuss economic exchange opportunities and the establishment of Korea's first Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ). A master-planned city consisting of 4 hubs -- business, information technology/biotech, transport/logistics, and tourism/leisure -- IFEZ was specifically created to move the country into the knowledge-based and service industries needed to compete in today's global economy.
As part of Mayor Hannemann's "21st Century Ahupua'a" sustainability plan, he will meet with officials and tour SongDo International Business District, one of the IFEZ business hubs. Songdo has been accepted as the "Green Urbanism" pilot project by the U.S. Green Building Council for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification, the first national standard for neighborhood design. The mayor's sustainability plan is available online at www.honolulu.gov/mayor.
Mayor Hannemann will also present a plaque and photo depicting Honolulu's gift to Incheon of a Hawaiian monk seal statue. The statue will be on display in the Incheon Immigration Memorial Museum for its grand re-opening in May 2008.
The last city Mayor Hannemann will visit is Seoul, South Korea, where he will promote Oahu's diverse business and investment opportunities and express his active support for expanding the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, improving the visa application process and creating a more welcoming entry process for foreign visitors to the U.S.
As the chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Standing Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), Mayor Hannemann is leading efforts by U.S. mayors to elevate travel promotion to a national policy priority. Recently at the USCM Leadership Conference in Trenton, New Jersey, he succeeded in gaining USCM's support for 2008 travel and tourism initiatives, including the insertion of travel promotion language into the USCM's national "10-Point Plan" to establish travel promotion as a priority for mayors across the nation.
He will meet with Seoul Mayor Oh Se Hoon and government officials from the Seoul Office of International Cooperation, as well as from immigration and foreign affairs, to promote Honolulu's business opportunities and discuss the vital role Honolulu plays as a gateway to other U.S. cities. He will also discuss opportunities to work together in support of Korea's admittance into the Visa Waiver Program and the recent U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.
Mayor Hannemann will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to discuss the need for a better balance between national security and increasing international travel to the U.S. through visa reforms, entry improvements and promotion.
Mayor Hannemann will tour Seoul City's Cheonggaechon Restoration Project, an internationally acclaimed public works project to create more green space, decrease health risks and revitalize a run-down section of the city. He will also tour Seoul's Digital Media City, a city-led urban development plan under construction on the last undeveloped expanse of land in Seoul to create the world's most wired city. Projected completion date is 2010. The Mayor will also tour the Seoul Broadcasting System, one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks.
Mayor Hannemann will also speak and meet with CEOs and business leaders from 30 top Korean companies interested in investment opportunities in Honolulu. The business roundtable and meetings will be hosted by SamKoo Corporation, a development company based in Seoul that recently made sizeable land investments on Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu.
Accepted as a gift by the City Council, the Mayor's trip is sponsored by the United Chinese Society, Incheon Metropolitan City and Samkoo Pacific LLC.
Bill Brennan, 527-6928