Sylvan Lake economic development officer Vicki Kurz went to China to fish for investment.
She got a few promising nibbles with one potential investor/developer is expected to visit later this month or early next year, said Kurz.
The next step is to put together an itinerary to show off the community to its best advantage. Some cultural awareness training may also be offered town council, and other hosts, to provide the best welcome possible.
Kurz was among about 10 central Albertan representatives, including Central Alberta Access Prosperity, the region’s economic development organization, who joined last month’s 10-day provincial trade mission organized by provincial representatives and the economic development organizations for Calgary and Edmonton.
Sylvan Lake had three specific investment opportunities to promote backed up with information packages translated into Mandarin. A hotel with conference spaces and a waterslide, amusement park and downtown commercial redevelopment.
Kurz was among half a dozen Albertans who were focused on tourism opportunities. They presented to different groups in several cities and those in the audience interested in learning more could meet one-on-one.
Sylvan Lake’s ideas went over well with a dozen one-on-one sessions requested.
“It was very positive,” said Kurz.
“What I was speaking about in my presentation was that we have a lot of Chinese visitors coming through on bus tours right now and we’re not capturing them or (realizing) the economic benefit of keeping them overnight or for the weekend,” she said.
The investor-developer planning to check out Sylvan Lake is interested in commercial redevelopment. She also is continuing to follow up with other investors she met on the mission.
When working with Chinese investors, a long-term approach must be taken, she said.
“It’s about relationship building. It takes time to do business in China.”