Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will travel to Egypt and Ethiopia this week with a delegation of city and metro area leaders at a cost of more than $100,000. The trip, which comes at the tail end of Hancock's tenure as mayor, will help the city find new air service and economic development opportunities on the African continent, officials said.
The trip is expected to cost a total of $107,567.56. Of that amount, the Denver International Airport's enterprise fund will cover $88,521.50 while the remaining amount is coming from the general fund, officials said. The trip is part of Denver's Vision 100 plan, which wants to bring 100 million passengers annually at DIA within the next 10 years.
Hancock and the delegation depart Monday and return Friday.
"One of the main pillars of the Vision 100 plan is to expand Denver’s global connections, and Africa is an expansion opportunity," Hancock said in a release announcing the trip. "The success of new flights, especially international flights, depends on support from all categories of travelers – business, leisure, family visits and education – and this mission is an important step to raise awareness of our efforts to add these flights and gain the support of future travelers.”
Earlier in the year, Hancock traveled to Turkey, the United Kingdom and Ireland for similar reasons. That trip cost just over $66,000, with about $15,000 coming out of the general fund.
In 2022, a committee formed by Hancock began exploring adding service to two cities in Africa: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Cairo, Egypt. Addis Ababa is considered to be a gateway to the rest of the African continent, as well as Middle Eastern markets. Additionally, Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union and home to several non-government organizations.
Since being elected in 2011, Hancock's efforts have added six international airlines and 18 international destinations to DIA.
"This is part of the airport’s Vision 100 Strategic Plan as we are working to position Denver as an important access point for passengers and cargo to be able to take advantage of future business and tourism opportunities as African economies grow," DIA CEO Phil Washington said in a release.
Members of the delegation include Chief of Staff Alan Salazar, Deputy Chiefs of Staff Evan Dryer and Tracy Winchester, DIA CEO Phil Washington, DIA VP for Air Service Development Laura Jackson, DIA VP Penny May and Executive Director of Parks and Recreation Happy Haynes.