Honolulu is preparing to host one of the largest and most high-profile events in its history, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders meeting, which will bring 20,000 delegates from 21 different countries to the island of Oahu November 7–13.

U.S. President Barack Obama will be joined in Honolulu by 20 heads of state from Pacific Rim nations to address issues of economic growth, trade, and investment. The 21 member economies—which include China, Russia, Australia, Japan, and the United States—account for 40 percent of the world population, 54 percent of the world gross domestic product, and 44 percent of world trade. Other APEC attendees include finance ministers, diplomats, policy-makers, and chief executive officers. This is the first time that the meeting has been held in the U.S. since 1993.

Hawaii tourism leaders believe APEC will be a perception-changing conference for the Hawaii meetings industry. “The world knows Hawaii as a dream vacation destination, but APEC will show that our islands are an ideal setting for serious business meetings, and especially adept when it comes to gatherings involving international interests,” said John Monahan, president, Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau. “Hawaii’s meetings industry has been undergoing extensive preparations for APEC, including property improvements, special training, and accommodating the requirements of various government agencies involved with the hosting of so many leaders and dignitaries at the same time,” added Monahan.

A focal point for the business of APEC will be the Hawai‘i Convention Center, which will host ministerial and business meetings during APEC week, and will also house the media center for the estimated 2,000 journalists coming from around the world.

For more information about APEC 2011 Hawaii, visit www.apec2011hawaii.com.