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Chris Jones

Convention Authority Planning China Tour

17 January 2005

Inspired by its recent success promoting local trade shows before business leaders in South America, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will this spring stage a similar promotional tour of China.

Authority leaders will next week narrow the dates for the planned two-week journey to Beijing and Shanghai. Director of Convention Sales Chris Meyer said Friday the trip will start in the latter half of May to avoid conflicts with a popular Chinese celebration period earlier that month.

The China venture will mirror September's convention authority-led venture to Sao Paulo, Brazil. That trip included a dozen or so representatives of large Las Vegas trade shows, including the International Consumer Electronics Show and ConExpo-Con/Agg, a construction equipment and materials trade show that brings more than 100,000 people here every three years.

By gathering en masse under the Las Vegas banner, participants' combined drawing power reaches more would-be customers than can be reached through separate sales trips, Meyer said.

"Using Las Vegas as a hook, that proved to be a big plus n Brazil," he said. "And now we have a golden opportunity to put Chinese buyers and (U.S. trade show) producers together in (the buyers') own country."

The convention authority does not have an office in China. May's trip is being arranged in partnership with the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which in June opened an office in Beijing, and the U.S. Commercial Service, a Department of Commerce unit that assists small- and medium-size businesses sell their goods and services overseas.

U.S. Commercial Service also helped organize 2004's Brazil trip.

Participating trade show representatives will pay most of their own expenses in China, although the convention authority will spend an estimated $70,000 to $90,000 on ground transportation, a luncheon/press conference and sales gatherings in the two cities, Meyer said. Additional sales opportunities can be arranged on a company-by-company basis.

Meyer said only a dozen U.S. participants will make the trip. He expects all who went to Brazil will travel to China, potentially joined by representatives of the Specialty Equipment Market Association auto parts show and Men's Apparel Guild in California clothing expo. A final list of participants will soon be determined.