Houston and District Chamber of Commerce manager Maureen Czirfusz and board members Bill Sullivan and Kyle Thomson travelled to China from March 27 to April 6 on a tour organized through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Executives. They were accompanied by Bill’s wife Louise and Maureen’s husband Vernon. The purpose of the trip was to be introduced to Chinese culture and learn about doing business there. “There were about 20 chambers represented from across Canada and 7 were from BC” said Czirfusz. The tour was offered by Citslinc International, which works exclusively with chambers of commerce and boards of trade in North America. “This trip was a familiarization tour for chamber executives to learn what Citslinc has to offer and be able to promote it to their members.”
The tour included visits to many of China’s well known tourist destinations such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City in Beijing, West Lake in Hangzhou, Tiger Hill in Suzhou and the Bund in Shanghai. Besides sightseeing, the chamber representatives also had introductory meetings with the BC International Trade and Investment Office, the China International Fair for Trade in Service (both in Beijing) and the Suzhou Singapore Industrial Park in Suzhou. “The SIP was a city within a city” said Czirfusz, “There were hundreds of international companies there with offices or manufacturing plants and the area had commercial, residential, and recreational zones.” It was a busy 10 days as the travellers were treated to all the regular tours included in the trip as well as the optional tours.
The Houston and District Chamber of Commerce is organizing a return trip to China for April 4 to 13, 2014. “The trip for 2014 is focused toward introducing business people in the north to China” Czirfusz said, “With expanding trade in the Asian markets, BC is positioned to be the gateway for not just Canada but all of North America. Citslinc president Leo Liu has the connections in business and government to set up introduction meetings for anyone looking to buy or sell products or trade in services in China.”
The trip in 2014 is open to anyone, not just business owners, that would like to be introduced to the history and culture of China. “China is a fascinating country and the people were very friendly” said Czirfusz “It took a while to get used to numbers of people but we never felt uncomfortable or unsafe while out in the streets.” The Chamber will be hosting an information session in late May or early June, depending on Mr. Liu’s schedule, for anyone that might be interested in learning more. “I would definitely go back” said Czirfusz.