Frankfort, KY: The international spotlight will shine on Kentucky during the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan. Kentucky’s participation in the U.S. Pavilion during next year’s World Expo is designed to position the state as a global leader in business, tourism and education.
“Our participation in the World Expo provides an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the state’s unbridled spirit to world leaders, Japanese business executives, international tour operators, local officials, educators, students, and others throughout the 185 day span of the World Expo,” said Governor Fletcher. “Kentucky’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and strong international business climate will be showcased to more than 1.5 million visitors.”
Governor Fletcher, was joined at today’s announcement by Lisa Gable, Commissioner General of the United States Pavilion, Gary Convis, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Lee Todd and William Crouch, Presidents of the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College respectively. The state has formed a partnership with UK, Georgetown College and Toyota in this venture.
Aichi Expo 2005 will be the first World Exposition in the 21st Century and is scheduled to run from March 25 to September 25, 2005, and will host an estimated 15 million visitors. The United States, which is one of 125 participating countries, expects at least 1.5 million visitors at its 17,000 square foot pavilion. Other states participating include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia to date.
The U.S. Pavilion promises to be a must see attraction at EXPO 2005, providing a unique presentation that celebrates the power of nature and the spirit of human progress as seen through the eye of influential founding father, Benjamin Franklin. The Pavilion theme, The Franklin Spirit, explores the innovations that have shaped the world today and the promise that the future holds for improving the lives of all people.
"President Bush made a commitment to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi last October that the U.S. would be present at the Aichi Expo. The U.S. -Japan relationship is stronger than at any time in history," said Lisa Gable, Commissioner General of the United States Pavilion. "The U.S. participation in Aichi EXPO 2005 is, in part a reflection of the importance the United States attaches to our relationship with Japan. As expressed by U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker, the Aichi EXPO 2005 offers an excellent opportunity to showcase U.S. ingenuity and ideals to a broad range of Japanese and others who visit the EXPO."
As part of Kentucky’s Global Sponsorship, Governor Fletcher, along with the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College will have the unprecedented opportunity to showcase the state’s Unbridled Spirit as it relates to economic development, tourism and education to an average of 10,000 visitors a day. In addition, Kentucky will capture the premiere spotlight of the U.S. Pavilion during Kentucky Week May 16-22, 2005, when the state takes center stage hosting Japanese business executives, international tour operators, local officials, educators, students and others within the U.S. Pavilion.
“EXPO 2005 is a wonderful opportunity for both the University of Kentucky and the Commonwealth,” said UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. “I am excited about the opportunity to share all the innovative things we are doing at UK and throughout Kentucky with some of the world’s most influential business leaders.”
“I’m excited that Georgetown College has the opportunity to introduce its Commerce, Language & Culture program to an international audience of prospective students and business leaders during our day at the World Expo in Aichi, Japan in May,” commented Bill Crouch, president of Georgetown College. “Through this academic program, we are preparing students to enter the global business world by providing them with a sound foundation in business and economic principles, fluency in a second language, and knowledge of the culture of the global marketplace. We are appreciative of the support of Toyota Motor Manufacturing and the Commonwealth of Kentucky in making Kentucky Week at the World Expo a reality.”
Currently home to 342 international companies representing a workforce of more than 70,000 people, the Commonwealth has embraced the global business climate that exists today. Of those 342 international companies, 138 represent Japanese businesses with U.S. subsidiaries and employ 34,653 Kentucky workers (Source: Division of Research and Site Evaluation, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development). Japan is the world’s 2nd largest market, as well as, the 2nd largest importer of Kentucky goods with exports more than $919 million. Japan's foreign direct investment in property, plants, and equipment (non-bank) exceeded $8.5 billion in the Commonwealth as of 2002. Japan is 1st among all countries in foreign direct investment in Kentucky.
Kentucky’s long-standing relationship with Japan has resulted in tremendous economic development success. Success stories like Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. in Erlanger have spurred the continued growth of Kentucky’s Japanese companies.
“Toyota has found that Kentucky is a great place to do business. We know it, and now the world is about to find out about it,” stated Gary Convis, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America. “By sponsoring the U.S. Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Japan next year, Kentucky is seizing the opportunity to show the world just what we’re made of.”
In recent years, Kentucky has seen increased leisure travel by the Japanese as a compliment to business travel. More than 2 million Japanese travelers have visited the United States this year. The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote Kentucky as a travel destination, to generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy. Tourism is a $9.3 billion business for Kentucky employing more than 162,000 people (as of 2003). It’s the state’s third largest industry and second leading employer.
Lisa Gable is the wife of James Gable, son of Robert and Emily Gable of Frankfort, Kentucky. She and her husband reside in Upperville, Virginia with their daughter.