Victoria mayor leads second trade mission to Asia next week

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will lead her second trade mission to China and Japan next week.

The 10-day visit includes meetings in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Victoria’s sister city, Morioka, Japan, with a focus on exporting local innovation in clean tech, manufacturing, education, film and tourism.

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Accompanying Helps will be Coun. Margaret Lucas, acting city manager Jocelyn Jenkyns and Kerri Moore, the city’s manager of strategic relations and business development.

They will be joined by the South Island Prosperity Project, Camosun College, Tourism Victoria and eight local companies.

SIPP, which works with companies that want to grow in or relocate to Victoria and the South Vancouver Island region, will meet with several groups in China that are interested in travelling to Victoria in March as part the GLOBE Vancouver Forum on clean technology and sustainable business.

In Beijing, Helps will attend and participate in meetings with Tourism Victoria and tourism businesses at Destination Canada Showcase Asia.

The city’s cost for the mission is about $27,000, which Helps says will be money well spent.

“It’s really good value. Last year was our first trip,” she said.

“The concrete outcomes are that I’m there on the trade show floor with Tourism Victoria. … Having the mayor there, looking the person in the eye, actually allows [tourism representatives] to get deals done.”

Helps will also be participating in what she called an “exclusive” interview session with Chinese media.

“I think Paul Nursey [Tourism Victoria president and CEO] quantified the value of that as close to $300,000 in terms of the reach within China about Victoria,” she said. “That in itself is a payoff.”

In Shenzhen, the city and some delegation members will tour the facilities of BYD, a Chinese-based manufacturer of electric buses and commercial fleet vehicles.

The city and SIPP are partnering with the Canadian consulate and the B.C. Trade and Investment Offices in China to host a reception in Shanghai with Victoria-based companies established in China and newer “market-ready” companies looking for entry into the country.

In Morioka, there will be a visit to the “Incubator Lab” at Iwate University and meetings at Morioka University.

The delegation will also tour an innovative workforce housing project for construction workers in Kuzakai.

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