Mike McCartney, CEO and executive director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, stated in an “APEC Update” email Oct. 4 that Waikiki Beach will not be closed during the APEC summit.

McCartney’s email came well before the U.S. Secret Service, on Oct. 20, released its list of security restrictions.

Yet, the same claim is repeated nearly word for word on the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee website, on an FAQ site.

Will Waikiki Beach be closed during APEC Leaders’ Week?

No. Visitors and residents will have access to Waikiki Beach during Leaders’ Week. There may be some restrictions and screening during certain times, but the Secret Service, working together with its law enforcement and public safety partners, will make every effort to anticipate and minimize those disruptions.

Is that true?

While most of Waikiki Beach is expected to remain open to guests and residents during APEC, which runs Nov. 8-13, at least one major section of the beach will be closed for 24 hours.

The beach area behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hale Koa Hotel and Fort DeRussy Park will be off limits on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Here’s the exact wording from the Secret Service:

WEST WAIKIKI ZONE: This security zone will begin November 11, at 11:00 p.m. and conclude November 12, 11:00 p.m. This zone encompasses the beach access areas behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hale Koa Hotel and Fort DeRussy Park. The zone will extend 2,000 yards offshore (see map). The beach access is restricted to all personnel and vessels. No public access.

That’s a pretty big chunk of prime ocean-front property. An adjoining chunk — from Fort DeRussy to the Sheraton Waikiki — will remain open for the general public during that same time frame, but it will be closed for vessel traffic.

Why all the security?

Saturday, Nov. 12, is the date that President Barack Obama is scheduled to host the leaders of APEC member economies at the Hale Koa Hotel, the 817-room resort used exclusively by U.S. military members and their families.

Asked about the FAQ in question, a spokeswoman for McCartney and the APEC Host Committee (of which McCartney is a member) explained that the security restrictions come from the Secret Service, and not the HTA or host committee.

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