Fortin and business leaders head to China

City of Victoria looks to strengthen tourism, education and high-tech sector ties with China

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin left for China last Friday (Oct. 19), along with 25 leaders from the business and education sectors.

“Continuing to foster the Victoria brand abroad is vital, especially during these tough economic times,” Fortin said in a release.

The delegation visits 10 cities in 10 days, and is intended to strengthen relationships in the tourism, education and high-tech sectors.

“Our China tourism connections are essential as outbound tourism from China increases year after year,” said Dallas Gislason, economic development officer for the Greater Victoria Development Agency.

Bringing the mayor along on this business trip helps to open doors, Gislason added.

“In Asia, mayors are held in very high esteem,” Fortin said. “We elevate the legitimacy of the trade mission and the people that are there.”

For example, he said, booking meetings with major tour operators in China requires co-ordination by the mayor’s office.

It’s Fortin’s second delegation to China. The first took place in 2010.

“When we went two years ago, we came back with a documented $12 million worth of income generation,” he said.

rholmen@vicnews.com