Appleby heads to Asia

China trip entices local chamber of commerce president

South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) president Jennifer Appleby is headed for an exciting new life experience when she travels to China, Oct. 7-15.

“I am going with the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce,” says Appleby.

“The tour operator [Citslinc International Inc.] only deals with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade.”

The trip was offered to Appleby and other British Columbia chambers of commerce presidents (or executive directors) at a reduced rate, in order to help it find new partner groups, she explains.

While it was on her “bucket list” to visit China someday, Appleby adds she might not have made it there without this opportunity.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a completely foreign country and a completely fascinating place to see. I think it is going to be extremely interesting.”

The tour operator secures bulk reservations and then offers partnered business groups a package deal at about half the normal cost, which, she notes, could provide another perk for SCCC membership.

“So, it is [oversees] flights, four-star hotels, three meals a day, and your in-country flights because you go from Beijing to Shanghai.”

Appleby explains the itinerary is still tentative, but she will very likely see the Great Wall, 2008 Olympic venue, Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City (Palace Museum), Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace.

She will dine on Peking Duck and enjoy a boat cruise on West Lake, which boasts relaxing stopovers at “jewel-like” pagodas and tea houses.

A bus trip to Shanghai will transport Appleby to the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory, the Yu Garden and a tour of Bund, a famous waterfront park.

A tour to Suzhou will visit the Silk Factory, Lingering Garden, National Embroidery Institute, and she can sign up at will for optional trips, such as on the maglev (magnetic levitating train) or a canal boat.

“Day 4, for example, has a business conference or a tour or an opera or a Kung Fu show, so you can pick which ones you want to do.”

The networking opportunities should abound, as Appleby notes the whole group going to China consists of businesspersons.

“I can take information about 100 Mile House, about whatever opportunities are here, and when I come back, we, as a chamber, can decide if we want to work with this tour operator and offer it to our members.”

Appleby says she hopes to learn something about China’s business environment, through the factory tours, a visit the Pudong Economic Development Zone and possibly other experiences throughout the trip.

Appleby adds her 40th birthday lands smack in the middle of the trip, and she can’t think of a better gift.

“I’m not going to understand a darn thing. I’m trying to work on my chopstick skills, and I’m terrible at it so far, but I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t bring my own fork.”

While this particular trip is sold out, to see what it offered and testimonials on past trips, visit www.kelownachamber.org/chamber/discover_china_trip.aspx.

For more information on SCCC membership, call executive director Colene Hume at 250-395-6124.