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Chambers Gearing Up for Joint China Trip

2010. 23 March

The China National Pavilion will be among the centerpieces of Expo 2010 Shanghai China this year. Two local Chambers of Commerce have teamed up for a trip to China that will include a tour of the exposition. (Photo courtesy Shanghai Expo 2010)

by Scott McCaffrey

( A collaborative effort between two Northern Virginia business organizations will give local residents the chance to explore China in the fall.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce and Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a nine-day tour of four Chinese cities,
including the capital of Beijing and the financial center of Shanghai, in September.

The result will be “a unique opportunity for our members and the public,” said Kate Roche, director of member services and development for the Arlington Chamber.

“This is a really good partnership, a great opportunity,” said Mark Ingrao, president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, who on March 20 returned from a preview trip that followed the same itinerary to be taken in the fall.

The trip is designed to appeal both to business executives and the general public. There will be the opportunity to meet with industry leaders in China, and the tour includes admission to Expo 2010 Shanghai China. That event is expected to draw 70 million people during its May-to-October run, making it the largest world exposition ever.

Ingrao said the pace of the trip is designed to maximize exposure to Chinese culture and opportunities.

“The one thing the Chinese do very well is keep you moving all the time,” he said. “They really try to provide an experience for you. If you like that kind of thing, it is quite the opportunity.”

Shanghai, Ingrao noted, “is like New York on steroids - the architecture is beautiful, the buildings are much taller, and they really know how to do neon.”

The inaugural trip is expected to start small; about a dozen people attended an orientation session held March 22 at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott. A similar event was slated to be held in Reston.

But it has turned into a big event for some business organizations across the U.S.; the Grand Junction (Colo.) Chamber of Commerce plans to send 100 participants to China this spring after a “just amazing” response to its first trip, said Grand Junction Chamber president Diane Schwenke.

The tour is being overseen by Citslinc, a firm that works with about 600 business organizations across the U.S. and each year escorts 20,000 Americans on trips similar to the one planned in September.

Officials from both the Arlington and Reston chambers said their goal was to keep the price affordable, in an effort to encourage those willing to take what might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The cost of $2,099 per person for Chamber members, families and guests includes shuttle service from Northern Virginia to New York, air transportation from New York and within China, accommodations in 4-star and 5-star hotels, meals, guided tours, admission fees and English-speaking support throughout the trip. The cost for those not affiliated with the business organizations is $2,399.

The only additional costs are a Chinese visa ($130-$145) and optional tours during the trip; the single-occupancy surcharge is $450.

For information, call the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at (703) 525-2400 or see the Web site at, or call the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce at (703) 707-9045 or see the Web site at