San Francisco is in the international spotlight as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit or APEC officially began Saturday at the Moscone Center. APEC will bring the biggest meeting of world leaders the city has seen in nearly 80 years, and those leaders are starting to arrive. According to city leaders, more than 20,000 people from APEC member economies are expected to be in town for the summit.
Local leaders and businesses are hopeful this event will be a chance for international visitors to step outside whatever they might have read in the headlines and experience San Francisco for themselves.
NBC Bay Area ran into San Francisco London Breed who happened to be strolling around the second Chinatown Night Market this week.
“Every major city has its challenges, and San Francisco is no different,” Breed said, “we’re not pretending that they don’t exist, but we also have so much happiness, and so much joy in our various neighborhoods, including Chinatown, and that’s why we have so many people here tonight and last night.”
“We hope that people feel that energy, that spirit, that excitement and continue to come back to Chinatown to support this extraordinary community,” Breed continued.
Every day this week, Breed says her schedule has been consumed with planning and events for APEC.
“It’s really exciting, the city’s going to shine,” she emphasized.
For the second night in a row, Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown grew packed with food vendors, music, and visitors for the night market.
“It’s amazing, it’s absolutely extraordinary the number of people who came out,” noted David Chung of San Jose, who came to Chinatown for a date night and was happy to stumble into the Night Market.
APEC attendees and dignitaries were invited to an art and wine event at Blue Stream Gallery in Chinatown on Saturday.
“This is an art gallery where we have different artists who are of Korean descent, we also have a wine tasting out there in a bar, and these are Asian-owned vintners,” explained Stuart Fong, the secretary of the San Francisco- Seoul Sister City Committee.
Fong has been busy coordinating with consulate staff and APEC delegates coming in from Korea. He is hoping they have opportunities to see the local highlights during this trip.
“I think it’s important to showcase the city, and this is an opportunity for San Francisco to showcase itself — that we are coming back,” Fong said.
Several San Francisco businesses NBC Bay Area spoke with said they hope to see a boost in business not only during APEC but as a result of APEC in the months and years to come.
Source: NBC Bay Area