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Mayor Mufi Hannemann departs Honolulu this evening and heads to Washington, D.C. for the 76th Winter Meeting of The United States Conference of Mayors.

“I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from all around the country to discuss a number of topics that are of concern to all of us,” Hannemann said.  “I will also use this trip to continue to promote Honolulu as a great city in which to do business, and to encourage people to come and visit our beautiful island home.”

For the first time ever, the USCM will hold a Plenary Session on “Promoting Travel and Tourism.”  Mayor Hannemann will head up a distinguished panel of speakers that will include Chicago mayor Richard Daley, the Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc, Mr. Bill Marriott, Jr., the Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and the Chairman of the Travel and Business Roundtable, Mr. Jonathan Tisch, and U.S. Senator Dan Inouye.

“I want to thank Senator Inouye for accepting my invitation to address my mayoral colleagues on a topic that he and I agree is of vital importance, not only to Honolulu and Hawaii, but to the rest of the country as well,” Hannemann said. 

During a USCM Leadership Meeting in September of last year, Mayor Hannemann led the charge to have Tourism and the Arts included in the USCM 10 Point Action Plan.   He also visited New Hampshire in late November on behalf of the USCM to speak on the importance of the arts as an issue for presidential candidates to address in their campaigns. The result is that now the USCM is calling for Travel and Tourism to be a national policy priority.  The mayors are echoing Mayor Hannemann’s call for increasing travel to Hawaii and the rest of the United States through visa reforms, entry improvements and promotion.  The mayors are also calling for the creation of a Cabinet level Secretary of Culture and Tourism charged with forming a national policy for arts, culture and tourism.

“As is the case with sustainability and climate protection, it is the mayors of the cities of our country who are taking the lead on tourism and the arts,” Hannemann said.  “In the short time I’ve been associated with the USCM, I’m proud of the great strides we’ve been able to make in elevating tourism to its rightful place as an economic development necessity for our cities and our nation.”

From Washington, Mayor Hannemann will travel to New York City, where he’s been invited by the Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy to be a guest speaker at its “Urban Conversations” program on Friday, January 25th.  “Strengthening the Middle Class” is the theme of the Conversation.  The Mayor will speak on “Strong Economies for America’s Cities” along with fellow mayors Byron Brown of Buffalo and Manny Diaz of Miami, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York.

“I am honored to be included with other local, state and federal elected officials to discuss the challenges facing urban America,” Hannemann said.  “I look forward to discussing with other leaders the strategies that can be used to best address these issues.”


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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