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SOCC president and CEO are excited about upcoming business trip to China
More than 120 business owners and members of chambers of commerce from throughout the Okanagan Valley – including the president and CEO of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) – will be heading to China in early October to try and initiate deals with dozens of Chinese business owners.
Holly Plante, the president of the SOCC, CEO Bonnie Dancey and the SOCC’s transportation chair Robert Linttell, will be joining dozens of members from chambers of commerce across the region during the historic visit to China.
A large group of participants will be leaving October 7, while many others will be flying to China October 9 as part of a business venture that has been organized by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
“This has been in the works for more than three months,” said Plante. “This will be a great opportunity to meet with some very significant business owners and leaders in China.
“It’s a very ambitious venture and one we’re hoping will initiate some very important and significant contacts with Chinese business owners.”
Plante will be heading to China with the specific goal of promoting and marketing the South Okanagan wine industry.
The SOCC hopes to convince contacts in China that the South Okanagan continues to produce some of the best wine in the world, said Plante.
Fields of interest for other members of the business community that will be travelling to China include those who work in business and finance, life insurance, building materials and supply, e-commerce development, real estate for both home and business and new energy communication, she said.
China’s economy continues to grow at staggering rates and being able to meet with prominent business leaders over there to promote South Okanagan wine is something she’s really looking forward to, said Plante.
“I’ve met with leaders of the Okanagan Falls Winery Association and Oliver and Osoyoos Winery Association to get their input so I can ask questions and get answers to key areas when looking at potential markets over in China,” she said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our chamber to promote and market the wonderful wines that are being produced throughout the South Okanagan to the largest market in the world.”
All of the business owners who are travelling to China are paying for the trip out of their own pockets, herself included, said Plante.
The CEOs from the various chambers of commerce who are attending had the majority of the costs paid for by their Chinese hosts, she said.
Numerous wealthy Chinese business owners continue to flock regularly to the South Okanagan and there’s tremendous opportunity to negotiate deals with them in the coming years, she said.
“This trip will be all about establishing relationships and letting many of these Chinese business owners know everything that we have to offer in the Okanagan Valley … and to let them know we’re interested in doing business with them,” she said. “We want to facilitate positive business relationships and hopefully have these Chinese delegates want to come back to B.C.
“It’s a huge business opportunity for our chamber and all of the business owners from the Okanagan Valley who will be attending.”
Dancey said her role will be to meet with as many Chinese business owners as possible during the trip and let them know the SOCC is interested in establishing business connections and Chinese investment in this area.
“I will be representing the chamber in general and not in any one specific area of business,” she said. “I want to get a feel of what they’re looking for and what their expectations are in terms of what we have to offer to them.”
Plante and Dancey will be meeting with dozens of business owners from Shanghai and Beijing during the nine-day tour.
“All of the individual meetings have already been scheduled and pre-arranged before we leave,” said Dancey. “Chamber managers from across the Okanagan will be meeting with business owners in both cities to discuss what we do and how we can assist them when they come to our region.”
Chamber of commerce managers from Lake Country, Salmon Arm, Princeton, Penticton and Kelowna will be joining Dancey as part of the visit to China.
While most of the tour will involve long days of business meetings, there will be time to enjoy the tourist sites in China, she said.
“We do have a couple of tours set up, including a visit to the Great Wall of China,” she said. “It should be fun.”
The SOCC hopes to convince numerous Chinese business owners that the South Okanagan provides a unique tourism market that is only a four-hour drive from Vancouver and with more international flights going to Kelowna every year, said Plante.
“We will also get across the message that we live in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada and we have the best weather,” she said.