COUNCIL MEMBER BROWN RETURNS FROM SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS TRIP TO ASIA
Houston, TX - After being invited by Houston Airport System (HAS) Director Mario Diaz, Council Member Helena Brown visited (June 30 - July 7) the cities of Taipei - Taiwan, Beijing - China, and Seoul - Korea to attend a series of meetings to help increase travel, investments, and jobs to Houston.
Airports and air-travel are vital to the financial well-being of a city. City Council Members routinely participate in business delegations to foreign countries to promote trade and travel. The thousands of dollars often spent by Council Members are minuscule compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars HAS currently spends on the upkeep and renovation of their airports so that our airports remain operational, competitive and profitable for the City.
As the fourth largest city in the nation, Houston is limited to only one direct flight to Asia and that is via Tokyo. Houston has a large Asian constituency. The Asian population in Houston remains higher than that of DFW; and as of the 2010 census there were 45,000 more Asians in Houston (389,007) than in DFW (341,503). This is not including the tremendous Asian populations in cities such as San Antonio, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Loredo, and the Valley, all who would prefer connecting flights out of Houston.
DFW's Korean population was originally a fraction of the population of Koreans in Houston. DFW's direct flights to Korea have allowed their Korean and Asian populations to increase exponentially. The economic boost has been immense: financial investments, new businesses, new jobs, and many top quality CityCentre type projects. Since the direct flights were established, DFW has seen a steady growth of about 1,200 Asian owned businesses per year.
Houston's Korea-town--in District A--should be a beacon not only for Koreans worldwide but as a model for the nation. For decades the Houston Korean community (about 35,000) has hoped for a non-stop Houston/Incheon flight.
In Houston, the efforts to establish a non-stop Houston/Incheon flight are being lead by Mr Randy Sim and Mr Kristopher Ahn.
With her election to City Council, CM Brown joined them in this effort and made this one of her many priorities of public office.
The hard working efforts of Matthew Shailer and the Mayor's Protocol Office made CM Brown's trip to Asia a success.
Thanks to the wonderful arrangements of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston, CM Brown had a number of meetings in Taipei with key government officials. All of their main concerns and priorities were the delivery of 66 F-16s, class AB aircraft of which the present U.S. administration has refused to deliver; instead they were sent used parts for their old planes.
In China, CM Brown discussed trade, travel, and education with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Deputy District Mayor and other officials of the Haidian District, CNOOC, SINOPEC, and Cameron International.
While in Korea, CM Brown had the opportunity to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It had a profound impact on her as she saw first-hand the eminent danger North Korea presents to South Korea. She experienced the South Korean appreciation and love for the American military. As a city and a nation CM Brown believes that we must affirm and recommit to the support of our allies.
In Korea CM Brown met with officials from the cities of Incheon and Seoul. There was much interest and excitement among the city officials about the possibility of a direct flight to Houston. They believe it is vital to have this flight to increase economic trade opportunities as Houston is the center not only of the oil industry but also the Medical Center.
CM Brown personally delivered to Asiana Airlines the over 5,000 signatures collected from the Houston Community and provided to her by Mr. Kristopher Ahn. She also delivered numerous letters of support including from Houston Council Members Hoang and Bradford, the Vietnamese Consul General, other elected officials and consul generals, and dignitaries. As a response, Asiana Airlines has communicated interest in having future discussions on the possibility of a non-stop Houston/Incheon flight.