San Francisco, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- What will APEC bring to San Francisco?

China News Service reporter Liu Guanguan

"It's going to be an epic APEC meeting."

This fall, on the billboards of some bus stops on the streets of San Francisco, USA, photos of the world's famous city and the above slogans quietly appeared.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held in mid-November at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the largest international conference to be held in San Francisco since the signing of the United Nations Charter in 11. Tens of thousands of people, including leaders, ministers, business executives and journalists from 1945 economies, will gather here to discuss ways to cooperate.

On November 11, local time, San Francisco people waited at a bus stop. Photo by China News Service reporter Liu Guanguan

The slogan at the bus stop clearly reflects the "ambition" of San Francisco officials for the international event. San Francisco Mayor Breed said he was confident the conference would have a positive impact on the entire city.

According to official San Francisco data, the occupancy rate in San Francisco was 9 percent in September. Before the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in the United States, the figure was almost always above 70%. With tens of thousands of people pouring in this November, San Francisco's hotel owners no longer have to worry about empty rooms.

In addition, the restaurants scattered throughout the streets of San Francisco are also looking for a piece of the pie. To capitalize on the business opportunities offered by APEC, the Gammon Restaurant Association has extended its San Francisco Restaurant Week from one week to two weeks in November.

In addition to the immediate benefits, Breed hopes that the positive impact will continue beyond the conference. She said the APEC meeting will provide an opportunity for San Francisco officials and executives to connect with business executives in attendance, bringing more conference and Asian visitors to the city. "We believe that from an economic standpoint, the door will be open," Breed said, which will change the dynamics of San Francisco's business meetings and tourism.

On November 11, local time, tourists visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Photo by China News Service reporter Liu Guanguan

While San Francisco officials ponder how to use the opportunity to revive the economy, local business owners and residents are worried about the inconveniences that the conference is about to bring.

During the conference, the Moscone Center and several nearby neighborhoods will be used as temporary security zones. Pedestrians and vehicles entering the security zone must undergo security checks that are as stringent as airports and military bases, law enforcement sources said. At the same time, vehicles delivering to businesses in the region can only go through security checks at designated locations at night.

On the 7th, Sammy, who runs a "Bimi Pork" stall in the food court of the Metron shopping center across the road from the Moscone Center, told a reporter from China News Service that the official only notified her about 15 days in advance about <> days in advance about about the security zone, which caught her off guard. Since the supplier was reluctant to deliver at night, Sami planned to buy ingredients for several days in advance and borrow a refrigerator to store them. Another concern for her is that delivery people will not be able to pick up food for days due to traffic issues, and the takeaway business, which is the main source of income for the stalls, may not be able to continue.

The San Francisco Board of Counselors recently unanimously passed a motion proposed by Chinese American Counselor Chen Shimin, urging the mayor to provide assistance to businesses and communities affected by the meeting. Breed said it embraces this idea and that the government is working to reduce the impact of the security zone on the population.

On November 11, local time, people passed near the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Photo by China News Service reporter Liu Guanguan

Another challenge for the San Francisco government during the conference is that journalists from around the world will take a closer look at the city with a magnifying glass in a city of less than a million people. San Francisco still has a lot of work to do to earn praise from the media.

According to an analysis updated by the University of Toronto in October, downtown San Francisco ranked only 10th out of 66 cities studied in the U.S. and Canada. The city has a large number of technology companies, remote work is still common, and problems such as too many vacant office buildings in the city center and the withdrawal of retailers have emerged. In addition, the city's policing situation, the spread of drugs in the open air, and the high number of homeless people have discouraged some tourists.

In the first nine months of this year, 9 people died from drug overdoses in San Francisco, a 620 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the latest data released by the city of San Francisco, many of whom lived on the streets. In the Tyndron district, which is adjacent to some well-known hotels, the number of drug overdose deaths has exceeded 35 this year.

Recently, San Francisco opened additional shelter beds to entice people off the streets. In addition, the city is cleaning and maintaining public facilities such as grounds, garbage cans, and toilets. On the 6th, the reporter saw in the Civic Center Square in front of San Francisco City Hall that several staff members were cleaning the ground with high-pressure water cannons and chemical agents. A site manager said he was given the assignment two weeks ago by the company he worked for.

On November 11, local time, staff cleaned the ground in the Civic Center Plaza in front of San Francisco City Hall. Photo by China News Service reporter Liu Guanguan

The efforts of the local government have been recognized by some of the people. On the 1st, Aiden, who was waiting for a train at a platform on Broadway Avenue in San Francisco, told reporters that he had not noticed the promotional slogan about the APEC meeting on the billboard, but recently the number of homeless people near his residence has decreased significantly, and the roads have become cleaner.

"It's an honor for us as a whole to host the APEC meeting," Aiden said, "and hopefully the government will solve those long-standing problems at the root of the problem, rather than just showing foreigners a façade during the meeting." (ENDS)