Caldwell seeks tourism funds for 2019 mayors conference
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is considering a request from Mayor Kirk Caldwell to chip in at least $500,000 to help the city host next year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors.
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The Hawaii Tourism
Authority is considering a request from Mayor Kirk Caldwell to chip in at least $500,000 to help the city host next year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Caldwell made his pitch at the agency’s Sept. 27 board meeting, when he told HTA board members that he wants them to provide between $500,000 and $1 million for the conference, scheduled for June 28 to July 1, and the affiliated International Mayors Climate Summit on June 27 at the East-West Center.
Caldwell said that so far he’s gotten commitments for $700,000, but to stay on track for his $4.5 million fundraising goal, he has to bring in at least $3 million by year’s end.
“When you look at what it generates, it’s a small request,” he said. “If I don’t receive significant financial support that means that the other guys are going to be less willing to give because the major industry doesn’t have faith.”
HTA Board Chairman Rick Fried said he hopes to have a decision for the mayor by the next board meeting, slated for Oct. 25.
The conference is
expected to attract 1,500 attendees, including 350 mayors, and is expected to contribute $8 million in
direct spending to Hawaii’s economy. In addition, the conference and climate summit would draw international representatives, Caldwell said.
Attendance by officials from Japan, site of the 2020 Olympics, also would provide HTA with an opportunity to continue lobbying for lead-up events to be held here for surfing, a new Olympic sport, the mayor said.
Additionally, Caldwell said the events will bring celebrities and VIPs to Hawaii. He has invited former President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Bruno Mars and Dwayne Johnson, among others.