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Cape Coral welcomes delegation from China

By Staff | Feb 26, 2019

The city of Cape Coral treated delegates from its sister city in China to some of the best the Cape has to offer: world class accommodations, meals at local favorites, a waterfront tour – and opportunities related to economic development, including visits to businesses.

The Baise delegates, identified by the city as Chairman Wu, chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultive Conference; Director Ma, director of the Municipal Industrial Management Committee; and Director Gan, director of Foreign Affairs, visited Monday and today for a grand tour put on the city’s Department of Economic Development to not only showcase the city and perhaps start a sister-city relationship, but to also encourage them to consider expanding to the area.

Joanne Killian, citizen ambassador who started the sister-city program here two years ago, said she is trying to meld the two cities for cultural and economic opportunities.

“They’re having a wonderful time. We are looking into investments, into education and tourism programs. We are also looking into the hotel and shopping industries,” Killian said Monday.

Nita Whaley, who works in the city’s Economic Development Office and chairs the welcoming committee, said she thought the delegation would learn why people want to live in Cape Coral.

“We’re happy they’re here because we want to find economic opportunities for them and for us,” Whaley said. “They are among the largest exporters of aluminum and we use a lot of it for pool cages, so we have companies who could use them as another source.”

The delegates arrived in Southwest Florida early Monday morning and were greeted at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village with a breakfast in the new conference room.

They then took part on a tour of Lee Health and Astro-Durance Bungee Systems before going to Rumrunners, first to go on a boat tour to see the waterfront (and identify the city’s expansion and the potential for possible future investment) and then for dinner.

Tuesday was to start with a tour of the city’s municipal charter schools and lunch prepared by the students. They then were to travel to Ecological Laboratories, a consumer-products testing lab.

The visit is to conclude with a closing reception with local business leaders, a tour of the Wicked Dolphin Distillery and dinner at Pincher’s before the delegation is to board a plane Wednesday morning.

Killian said the delegation seemed to most like Lee Health, which has a wellness center, particularly the yoga and pickleball.

“We talked about doing pickleball training because China doesn’t have it. We can teach them pickleball and maybe someday do a competition,” Killian said. “In Pittsburgh we had a dragon boat race for fun and then after a few years we competed.”

The delegation also took a stroll around the Cape Harbour waterfront before taking their boat trip Monday.

Chairman Wu was asked what he thought of Cape Coral.

“The people are very friendly and have welcomed us with open arms. The water is clean and the trees are green and you can see everywhere with the blue skies,” Wu said through an interpreter. “There are also beautiful women and handsome men.”

City Council budgeted up to $10,000 for what originally was to be a three-day visit. The city sought sponsorships for host components with the Rainbow Project, the Charter School Authority, Lee Health, Ecological Labs and Big Blue Brewing sponsoring food and meals.

Final cost numbers are still be tallied.

A delegation from Cape Coral is expected to visit Baise sometime in May.