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(Washington, D.C.) - Mayor Mufi Hannemann gained full support for his action plan on elevating travel and tourism to a national policy priority from the more than 250 mayors from across the nation attending the Travel and Tourism plenary session during the second day of the 76th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. 


This was the first time the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has ever had a plenary session focused on travel and tourism.  It is also the first time that Tourism and Arts is a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 10-Point Plan “Strong Cities…Strong Families…for a Strong America.”  (  Mayor Hannemann played a pivotal role as Chair of the USCM’s Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee in making both of these first time actions happen.


Mayor Hannemann chaired the USCM Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports meeting yesterday, leading the discussion on strategies to make travel and tourism an issue of the presidential candidates and the new president.  Chuck Merin, President of the Travel Business Roundtable, a leading industry voice in Washington made up of over 70 CEOs and senior executives from the nation’s travel-related companies was a guest speaker at the Mayor’s Committee meeting.  “On behalf of the nation’s travel & tourism industry,  we want to acknowledge and thank Mayor Hannemann for his strategic vision, contagious energy, and vibrant leadership on travel and tourism issues”, remarked Mr. Merin.  “What makes Mayor Hannemann stand out – is that he possesses a very clear and strategic vision about how to build partnerships with the private sector and how to grow the local tourism economy.  That’s why the people in the private sector respect and love to work with him.”


Douglas H. Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, and President of the USCM lauded Mayor Hannemann at the Opening Plenary Session today saying “You can’t have strong cities, strong families, for a strong America unless you recognize that we have to do something to jumpstart our economy and boost our tourism.  I commend and thank Mayor Hannemann….for his great work in making sure we increase our tourism dollars.”


In his presentation today, “Travel and Tourism: Changing How Washington Thinks – Begins with Mayors,” the Mayor talked about the importance of travel and tourism as a national policy priority for the nation, the significance of Honolulu as Asia’s gateway to other U.S. cities., and reviewed the solid groundwork that has been laid over the last year and recent tactical strategies being done to raise awareness of the importance of travel and tourism in the public and the presidential candidates.


Speaking at the Travel and Tourism Plenary Session with Mayor Hannemann were Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and travel industry leaders, John W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc., and Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable.  “Although travel & tourism is a driving force for our nation’s economy, our government has relegated travel & tourism to a second tier status,” remarked Senator Daniel K. Inouye, stressing the need for federal government support.  Jonathan Tisch affirmed the importance of cities and mayors with the statement, “Mayors, as CEOs of their cities, are on the frontlines dealing with this travel crisis.”


On behalf of the USCM, Mayor Hannemann had also traveled to New Hampshire in November joining leaders in the arts for a presidential candidate forum to emphasize the importance of the arts.  After the forum, five of the leading presidential candidates responded to their challenge to focus on the arts, by establishing platforms in support of the arts.  They were Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson.  


In his presentation, Mayor Hannemann also remarked, “Because Mayors are focused on safety and security, maintaining and upgrading infrastructure, and promoting their cities – they play an essential role to bring about a  healthy tourism economy.”  He also emphasized the need for Mayors to support the “Travel Promotion Act,” co-authored by Hawaii’s Senator Daniel K. Inouye and the creation of a Cabinet level Secretary of Culture and Tourism charged with forming a national policy for arts, culture and tourism. 


Mayor Hannemann concluded his speech by outlining key next steps.  First, a Presidential Forum on Travel and Tourism in Chicago in May 2008, hosted by the USCM in partnership with the Travel Business Roundtable, Travel Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association; second, a Tourism Plenary Session on the agenda at the USCM 76th Annual Conference, June 20-24, 2008 in Miami; and third, USCM’s Mayors’ Task Force for Chicago’s 2016 USA Olympic Bid led by Douglas H. Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, and President of the USCM, Manuel A. Diaz, Mayor of Miami and Vice President of the USCM (and incoming President), Honolulu’s Mayor Hannemann, and Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago, Illinois.  Its mission is to build private public partnerships to support Chicago’s bid.  Mayor Daley expressed appreciation for Mayor Hannemann’s leadership and vision and knowing that Chicago’s successful bid would create opportunities for all American cities to benefit.



Contact: Bill Brennan


Friday, January 25, 2008

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