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December 18, 2018

Quality in Hawaii Tourism: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on a global UNWTO stage in China


Creating a Quality Tourism Experience in Hawaii was on center stage at the 2018 International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism (IMFT)-Zhengzhou, China. The conference was held by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Government of Henan Province in collaboration with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This global event concluded in Zhengzhou, Henan Province yesterday.

Under the theme of “City Tourism Innovation in an Era of Sharing Economy”, IMFT 2018 brought together knowledge and experience from mayors of worldwide tourism cities, as well as experts of international organizations, through a variety of activities, including “Belt and Road” Tourism Cities Summit, Symposium, International Tourism Cities Exhibition & Show, to explore what role tourism can play significantly in pushing sustainable urban development.

The keynote speaker was Mayor Kirk Caldwell from Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Highlighting the importance of tourism to Hawai‘i’s economy, Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivered the keynote address on Monday, May 28 at the 2018 Mayor’s Forum on Tourism in Zhengzhou City, China.

In his presentation on Creating a Quality Tourism Experience in Hawaii, Mayor Caldwell highlighted the many aspects of Hawai‘i that make it a top world tourist destination, including its beauty, cleanliness and safety, as well as its unique Hawaiian culture and Aloha Spirit. He stated that developing quality tourism goes hand in hand with upgrading infrastructure and creating a unique visitor experiences that incorporate all that is special about Hawai‘i, including its rich multi-cultural heritage and its Hawaiian roots that are manifested in people’s daily lives. Mayor Caldwell also pointed to the desire of all of Hawai‘i’s people to share the Aloha Spirit with the world.

The mayor also took the opportunity to point to the recent volcanic activity on the Island of Hawai‘i (Big Island), noting that while it has severely affected residents in the activity area, the rest of the Hawaiian islands, including the majority of Hawai‘i Island itself, remain unaffected. Mayor Caldwell concluded his remarks by noting that quality must always be balanced with quantity. He said while tourism destinations may want to increase the number of visitors for economic and other reasons, the quality of the visitor experience and the needs and desires of local people must always be considered.

Mayor Caldwell attended the 2018 Mayor’s Forum on Tourism in Henan Province at the invitation of the China National Tourism Administration, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and the People’s Government of Henan Province. The theme of the forum was “City Tourism Innovation in an Era of Sharing Economy.”

Mayor Caldwell is due back on O‘ahu on the morning of May 30. Managing Director Roy K. Amemiya Jr. is serving as Acting Mayor while Mayor Caldwell is away.

The IMFT has been successfully held in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, which made it a grand event in international tourism communities with prospective and globally cooperative meaning and a high-end dialogue platform for tourism communities and cities in the world. The IMFT has been playing an important role in enhancing the development of global travel and tourism and also obtained high appraisal from the international tourism circles and cities.

As an important part of global tourism, China has achieved significant gains in tourism development under the leadership of the Chinese government and is becoming the strategic mainstay industry of the national economy. China has become the third-largest international inbound destination and the top tourist source country with the largest global domestic tourism market. China’s tourism progress is related to industrialization, socialization, internationalization and modernization. Henan, as the host province of IMFT, is a major tourist source region, destination and distribution center in central China, known for its economic strength and abundant cultural and tourism resources. It is an important node province in China’s development initiative of “One Belt and One Road”, which has a great bearing on not only China but also on the rest of the world.

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