August 8th, 2017
Our day started with visiting the “China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone” where we were given an informative tour on how the imports and exports are stocked in this area, before being distributed to other regions. Later on, we were invited to visit one of the most successful businesses in the Free Trade Zone, “The Republic of Moldova Pavilion”, to have a more in-depth introduction on how businesses from different parts of the world are able to sell their products here and how they become successful. The Free Trade Zone provides several benefits to attract companies to start their businesses here, specifically: tax benefits, shorter clearing time and tax reductions. However, the government holds control on what can be imported and what can be exported. The main Canadian goods that the Free Trade Zone in Chengdu imports are lobsters, cherries and blueberries.
In the afternoon, we were given three optional meetings to fulfill our mandates. The three options were the following: Chengdu Civil Organization Service Park, Luzhoulaojiao Group with Huaxi Securities, and Century Travel. I went to Century Travel, as I have been trying to combine tourism with real estate and education. This option was very interesting - we were given a tour of a high-end private social hall, before we had the actual meeting. Century Travel is a travel agency that focuses on middle to high-end personalized vacation planning. The Customization Manager, Mr. Zhang shared a lot of insightful information on the tourism market that Canada has in China. We learned the Chinese customers’ priorities when planning to travel to Canada. Their number one priority is scenery, followed by transportation, specifically direct flights. This also explains why the most visited cities in Canada are Vancouver and Toronto for Chinese tourists. As JTC ambassadors, with Sky representing Montreal, Akosua representing Manitoba and myself representing Ottawa, we all took turns to promote our regions and had a chance to present a pitch to Century Travel. By the end of the meeting, we were able to attract more interest to our regions, and we plan to continue to work with Century Travel in encouraging Chinese tourists to visits other parts of Canada!
Tonight was the last evening that we were staying in Mainland China, specifically Chengdu. We were lucky to have one of the largest and most popular stone pot restaurants, Jiuguoyitang (九鍋一堂) sponsor us for a delicious authentic Sichuan cuisine dinner. Personally, I am not a big fan of spicy food. However, I had a great time trying all the super spicy dishes and spent a wonderful evening with the local Chinese Ambassadors. The relationships we developed with the Chinese Ambassadors do not end here, as we all plan to continue building a bridge between Canada and China.
The night ended with our second Global Vision Education Symposium, where the Ambassadors representing education sectors were given the chance to introduce their school to local students who are interested in studying aboard. As we focused on the benefits of studying in Canada and analyzed the advantages of each university, many students and their parents show heightened interest in pursuing their education in Canada.
While we discovered Chengdu through its trades, winery, non-government organizations, travel agencies and authentic cuisine, we were able to experience a glimpse of Chengdu’s past, present, and future!