Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks is off to China today to attend a series of business investment forums.
Mr Hicks will attend the 2017 Chinese Enterprises Outbound Investment Conference, in Changsha, organised by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Following the conference, he will attend business forums in Wuhan and Beijing.
This will be Mr Hicks’ first trip to China and it is not ratepayer-funded.
He will be in China for eight days.
Mr Hicks said it would be a bit of a journey into the unknown.
However, he was no stranger to hosting delegations from China, in particular the China Animal Husbandry Group.
He planned to meet representatives of the group during his visit.
The company is a major stakeholder in the Mataura Valley Milk plant being built just north of Gore.
Mr Hicks said he was looking forward to showcasing what the Gore district had to offer.
“The main reason I decided to go was to look for opportunities and make contact with companies interested in investing and connecting with this part of the world.”
The Gore District Council had made no secret of its commitment to proactively encouraging economic development and tourism, Mr Hicks said.
One of the more recent initiatives was the successful Gore Summit, attended by more than 90 business and community leaders.
This reaffirmed Gore district residents were looking to the council to play a leadership role in making the district a place people wanted to live and do business, Mr Hicks said.
“We need to make sure we are as ready as possible for business opportunities because we are not the only rural local authority in New Zealand looking for external investment to help build a future for our children.”
GoRetail steering committee member Doug Grant said Mr Hicks’ trip to China was a great opportunity.
Attending the business forums in China would be a good opportunity to meet Chinese investor companies, he said.
The Gore district had been identified by Chinese investors as a great place to set up business ventures and work with the local body.
“It’s another chance to fly the flag for the district,” Mr Grant said.