Denver mayor’s Japan trip is 3rd overseas trip in 6 months

The mayor’s office said the trips are important to attracting Denver’s economic development and new flights to DIA.

DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock returned to Denver on Tuesday after using public funds to pay for a trip to Japan, his third in the past six months, as he prepares to step down this summer.

The city said the recent trip coincides with the 10th anniversary of United’s direct flight from Denver International Airport to Tokyo and allows the mayor to try to secure more foreign investment after globalization efforts were put on hold during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Suggesting that this is simply taxpayer-funded world travel is wrong and undercuts a key aspect of Denver’s economic development strategy that has brought the city millions of dollars over the past decade,” said spokesman Michael Strotter. million dollars in economic impact.”

“For the mayor, the work to make this happen doesn’t stop, as his time in the mayor’s office comes to a close, and he’s committed to getting the job done on behalf of the city until the next mayor is sworn in,” he said.

In addition to the mayor, nine city employees and 19 others participated in the delegation to Tokyo. A spokesman for the mayor’s office said the city will pay for some of the trips from its general fund, and the DIA will cover the rest.

The mayor’s two previous visits – to the UK, Ireland, Turkey, Egypt and Ethiopia – have been carried out under similar funding schemes. The trip to Africa, for example, cost $107,000—about $19,000 of which city taxpayers paid out of the general fund.

Total travel costs include four nights at the Nile Ritz-Carlton ($1,099 total) and business-class airfare to and from Denver ($6,500 total).

The city has yet to provide an estimate for the cost of the trip to Japan, Strotter said. The mayor and another member of the delegation returned home early Tuesday due to personal family matters. Changes and cancellations of bookings adjusted the cost breakdown, he said.

In addition to the mayor, Strotter said the following people also took part in the trip:

  • Alan Salazar, Chief of Staff
  • Evan Dreyer, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Georg Hill, Director of Scheduling and Advancement, Mayor’s Office
  • Jen Morris, Executive Director, Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO)
  • Stephanie Garnica, Director of Global Business Development, DEDO
  • Laura Jackson, Vice President, Aviation Services Development, DIA
  • Penny May, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, DIA
  • Derek Okubo, Executive Director, Human Rights and Community Partnerships
  • Kerry Tipper, City Attorney

Non-city delegation members:

  • Flavia Light, Vice President International, VISIT DENVER
  • JJ Ament, President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Kate Barton, Vice President of External Relations, Downtown Denver Partnership
  • Eric Hiraga, Executive Vice President, Matrix Design Group
  • Tish MaesPresident, PradoMaes Inc.
  • Kyle Chism, Business Development, Turner Construction
  • Jeff Darnell, Director, PCL Construction Services
  • Debbie Brown, President, Colorado Business Roundtable
  • George Burciaga, Managing Partner, United States Mayors’ Roundtable
  • Tim Wolfe, Director of Tourism, Colorado
  • Andrea Blankenship, Director of International Tourism, Colorado Department of Tourism
  • Jessica Acosta, Board Member, Denver Metro Leadership Foundation
  • Matthias Frenz, CEO/President, Logplan
  • Anthony Albanese, Senior Vice President, CBRE P=President
  • Jon Moellenberg, managing director, RBC Capital Markets
  • Matt Bell, Senior Vice President, Kroenke Sports
  • Charlie McDaniel, Managing Director, GSSG Solar (Alpine only)
  • Adrian Archambault, Director GSSG Solar (alpine only)
  • Gil Asakawa, Chair, Denver/Alpine Sister Cities Council (Alpine only)

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