Houston's Protocol Office Welcomes International Visitors

Houston is a city with more than 80 consular offices, and dignitaries regularly visit. Houston hosts a number of international conferences. To ensure that no one is offended by cultural differences, Houston's Protocol office smooths the way, and airport officials gear up to help visitors through customs. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports.

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Helping smooth the way for foreign visitors is especially important when the city hosts events such as this week's U.S. Arab Economic Forum. The Houston International Protocol Alliance--a department of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau--handles dignitary visits, consular relations and the Sister City program. Director Denea Leflore says her office provides the official welcome.

Seating arrangements might seem trivial, unless you consider the thought given to positioning guests at a wedding dinner or other family gathering.

The city's Saba Abashawl says Houston's airport system works with the Protocol Alliance to help ease the entry of dignitaries.

The U.S. Arab Economic Forum presents a special set of circumstances for Houston's airport.

Abashawl says the airport system has experience in smoothing the arrival of foreign visitors, helping thousands attend the Offshore Technology Conference each year. The three-day U.S. Arab Economic Forum gets underway this morning at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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