SF Mayor London Breed addresses economic hope, 'panda diplomacy' after China visit

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, April 22, 2024
SF mayor on economic hope, 'panda diplomacy' after China visit
Mayor London Breed arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday after a weeklong business trip to China.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed returned home Sunday with news about her seven-day economic development trip to China. And above all - bringing pandas to the city.

"We were truly successful in our trip, we had meetings with government officials, airlines and business leaders we held forums with people interested in doing business in San Francisco," said Breed.

But Breed said the highlight of the trip had nothing to do with business.

"Of course what everybody is excited about is pandas," said Breed.

RELATED: San Francisco Zoo to receive giant pandas from China, Mayor Breed announces'

Mayor Breed signed an agreement with Chinese wildlife officials to bring pandas to the San Francisco Zoo, as soon as early next year.

"We expect a pair of pandas, they are expected to come as soon as we are able to raise the resources to do all the permitting. We need to make sure we are prepared to receive them when they do come to San Francisco, their environment, food, support will allow them to thrive," Breed added.

Millions of dollars in private donations need to be raised to build an enclosure for the pandas at the zoo.

The last time pandas were in San Francisco was the 1980s and thousands of people lined up to see them.

RELATED: SF Zoo gears up for giant pandas as it plans for multi-million dollar facility

The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens will receive the giant pandas as part of China's Panda Diplomacy program.

Mayor Breed made a visit to see pandas up close -- she says it was a next level experience.

"I had a chance to go to the Shanghai Wildlife Park and it was the first time I saw a panda in person, and it was amazing. It was amazing to see them walk, eat, pick up things with their hands," she said.

The mayor also met with airline officials in China, in an effort to bring more flights between SFO and destinations in China.

"Overall, when we look at international travel we have recovered 95%, what still remains is China, we're only at 50%of what we were doing back in 2019," said SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel.

I know there's real demand, we heard it from tour operators who said they want more flights, we heard it from people who said we want to come to San Francisco," Breed said.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live