Mayor Rybak to promote Minneapolis as destination for travel and business
May 15, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) – On Sunday, May 17 Mayor R.T. Rybak is traveling to China to promote Minneapolis as a travel destination for the rapidly growing Chinese market, as well as to promote Minneapolis companies doing business in China. The trip is part of the City’s long held goal of widening relations between Minneapolis and major Chinese cities.
Mayor Rybak is traveling first to Beijing, China to speak at the International Forum on Development of High-Tech Enterprises at the Great Hall of the People. At this Forum, Mayor Rybak will be discussing his views about how cities and urban centers can drive economic development and how different regions can expand economic cooperation to promote growth. Rybak is the only U.S. Mayor and one of only a few Americans speaking at the Forum.
In addition to speaking at the Forum, Mayor Rybak will spend several days in Beijing, Shanghai, and Harbin, China meeting with various government, business, technology, and academic leaders.
The purpose of the Mayors trip is to promote and position Minneapolis as a destination for leisure travel and technical study from China, especially using the resources of Meet Minneapolis and Delta Air Lines. Rybak will meet with Minneapolis companies who have operations in China to help foster more business relationships that secure future business development for more Minneapolis-based companies. He will also work to strengthen the City’s relationship with our Sister City of Harbin, including by visiting a new "Minneapolis Hall" in Harbin’s Sister Cities Museum.
"Minneapolis is a global city and we need to act like one," Mayor Rybak said of this rare oversees trip – only his second as Mayor. "We are the home to global giants like Target, Best Buy and US Bank, but Minneapolis city government has not aggressively seized the opportunity of the global marketplace. We haven’t leveraged the relationships we have with our locally-based international companies to open up new markets for other Minneapolis-based companies around the world. It’s time that we stepped up to take a more central role on the global stage."
"Chinas travelers are the worlds fastest growing travel market in the world," said Bill Deef, who manages international relations for Meet Minneapolis, and will be joining Mayor Rybak in China. "A year ago Chinese visitors spent $2.5 billion in the U.S. and the market is expected to grow by 81 percent. The massive size of this market is simply too great to ignore."
"Having the Mayor of Minneapolis personally promote the City as a business and leisure travel destination is about the most powerful pitch we can make," added Deef.
"We will compete for this market, not only to bring Chinese travelers to Minneapolis, but to begin sowing the seeds for future business relationships and spur economic development for Minneapolis businesses eager to do business in China and around the world," Rybak said.
"In the competition for global markets, Minneapolis, a city with extraordinary national advantages, has fallen behind. We can’t catch up overnight, not in this economic climate, and not at the expense of the critical issues here at home. But we can look for smart, strategic ways to assert ourselves on the global stage, where we belong," Rybak added.
Published May. 15, 2009