DENVER (KDVR) — Mayor Michael Hancock, along with other local and state officials, is heading to Europe on a mission to improve relations with three countries.

The mayor and company will focus on talks about economic development, tourism and trade with government officials and businesspersons in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey.

The city said the goal of the mission is to “drive economic development, tourism, small business development and entrepreneurship between Denver and the three European countries.”

Hancock and other officials will work on creating relationships with the countries to increase foreign investment and establish more direct travel in and out of Denver.

The group’s itinerary is as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct. 27: Istanbul, Turkey – Meet at the U.S. Consulate
  • Friday, Oct. 28: London, England – Meet with Confederation of British Industry and other officials around city
  • Sunday, Oct. 30: London, England – Attend Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium; meet with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other city officials
  • Monday, Oct. 31: London, England – Meet with business representatives and members of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1: Dublin, Ireland – Meet with members of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and Industrial Development Agency Ireland; Tour Guinness Enterprise Center; meet with U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Claire D. Cronin

The mayor’s office provided FOX31 with a list of some people attending all or part of the trip:

  • Mayor Hancock
  • Alan Salazar (Chief of staff, mayor’s office)
  • Evan Dreyer (Deputy chief of staff, mayor’s office)
  • Laura Jackson (Vice president, Air Service Development at Denver International Airport)
  • Penny May (Executive vice president and chief commercial officer at DIA, Istanbul only)
  • George Karayiannakis (Senior vice president of airline affairs at DIA, Dublin only)
  • Stephanie Garnica (Director of global business development at Denver Economic Development and Opportunity, London/Dublin only)
  • Vanessa Simsick (Global business development manager, DEDO, London/Dublin only)

Representatives from VISIT Denver, the Colorado Tourism Office, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts are also taking part at different stops.

The city said Hancock, Salazar, Dreyer, Jackson and Garnica will be at the Broncos/Jaguars game and that “tickets were not purchased using city tax dollars.”

The mayor’s office responded to FOX31 about the importance of the trip and the use of funds for the excursion by saying:

Increasing Denver’s global connectivity has been a priority of the Mayor’s since he took office back in 2011. Recruiting international businesses to set up shop in Denver opens new job opportunities for our residents, growth opportunities for our local businesses and start up opportunities for entrepreneurs. And new, direct international flights can have tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact in our city, region and state, and can help support hundreds to thousands of jobs. They also provide new markets for our local businesses to connect to and grow in to, and new destinations for tourism to and from Denver, supporting one of our largest industries.  

Mayor Michael Hancock’s office

A spokesperson for the city told FOX31 the trip should cost roughly $66,100 for everyone’s flights and accommodations.

Approximately $50,820 will come from the Aviation Enterprise Fund, which is earmarked for airport operations, planning and development. Those funds come from sources like facility rentals, landing fees, parking, concessions and car rental charges.

The remaining $15,312.38 comes from the DEDO/General Fund, which is fueled by taxpayer dollars.