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Delegation from China to arrive Monday

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

The city of Cape Coral is working to finalize the plans for a delegation from China, expected to arrive in Southwest Florida on Monday.

A delegation from “sister city” Baise will spend two days in the Cape, with the hope on the city’s part that the visit will spur economic growth and cultural opportunities.

“We want to expose them to the city and to the business opportunities and the facilities we have,” said Mayor Joe Coviello. “They want to know how our charter schools operate, the hospital and some of the businesses like Wicked Dolphin and maybe Nor-Tec (Hi- Performance Boats),” Coviello said.

The original plan was for a three-day visit, but the delegation decided to cut the stay down to two. This means the city will have to squeeze in what the delegation will see in a shorter time window.

Coviello said the city was still hammering out the logistics with local businesses and piecing everything together.

The delegation will arrive Monday to a welcoming breakfast and reception, where people can meet them and ask questions (with a translator).

They will visit Cape Coral Hospital and have lunch there, go to Rumrunners and take a Nor-Tec boat tour to see some of the areas from the water and then dinner, Coviello said.

Tuesday will bring the delegation to the Oasis charter schools, the Ecological Laboratories and maybe Wicked Dolphin distillery. Delegates will attend a reception in the afternoon with dinner to follow before heading back on the plane Wednesday morning.

Coviello said he would particularly like for the delegation to go home and tell business owners to come to the Cape.

“Our residential tax base seems to be holding steady and we want to find ways to increase the commercial tax base to take pressure off the residents,” Coviello said.

The city council last month approved $10,000 toward the delegation’s visit. But with the visit being two days and only three delegates, Coviello said he doubts the city will spend that amount.

“We’re picking up some of the tab and the businesses are picking up some of it. We approved spending the money, but I don’t think we’re going to spend all of it,” Coviello said. “The charter schools and hospitals are going to sponsor lunch. One of the dinners is going to be sponsored. We’re talking about hotel rooms for four to six people.”

As for a Cape delegation going to China, Coviello said he will see how this goes before deciding on a return visit. If it happens, it will be sometime in May.