Isle companies urged to prep for APEC 2011
By David Butts
Article from: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
APEC leaders meeting
» When: Nov. 12-13, 2011
That was the message from Monica Whaley, president of the National Center for APEC, who spoke yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s 2010 policy summit at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort.
APEC will bring heads of state from the 21 largest economies in the Asia-Pacific region to Hawaii next November. The event is expected to generate some $120 million in economic activity for Hawaii while boosting the state’s image as a premier location for business conferences.
About 15,000 to 20,000 will attend the event, including about 1,000 business leaders from the region and 2,000 journalists.
Hawaii businesses have an opportunity to connect with potential customers throughout the region at the CEO summit that runs concurrent with the APEC leaders meeting.
“The CEO summit is a little bit like Davos,” said Whaley, referring to the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. “Meeting someone in your industry might result in a deal.”
The event will include an “idea fair” for businesses to show off their most innovative concepts, said Whaley.
Opportunities to participate include meeting with business leaders, getting a message out to the media and being a part of the host country’s local reception.
Journalists coming to Hawaii for the event will have a lot of downtime when heads of state are meeting privately. This gives local businesses an opportunity to take reporters on tours of their facilities to generate coverage of Hawaii around the region, Whaley said.
Local companies can “showcase that Hawaii is a place for business,” Whaley said.
The local host committee will be putting on a reception which is always well attended, she said. That’s another chance for local businesses to communicate with regional executives.
Whaley suggested that local companies get involved with the host committee, which is chaired by Bank of Hawaii CEO Peter Ho. Gregg Yamanaka, former president of MC&A, is the host committee’s CEO. Other members include: Mike McCartney, president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; Patricia Loui, president of OmniTrak Group Inc.; Stanley Kuriyama, CEO of Alexander and Baldwin; and Bert “BJ” Kobayashi Jr., CEO of Kobayashi Group.
The most lasting benefit for local businesses from APEC might be the boost to the meetings and convention industry, which has been lagging since the 2008 economic collapse.
If people come to Hawaii and have a first-class experience, there will be no end to the effect on businesses deciding to host future meetings here, said Whaley.