Photo provided
Noblesville Chamber of Commerce Bob DuBois provided this photo of Chinese gardens, which will be seen on the Chamber’s October trip to China.
Photo provided Noblesville Chamber of Commerce Bob DuBois provided this photo of Chinese gardens, which will be seen on the Chamber’s October trip to China.
It’s the first time that Noblesville Chamber of Commerce has offered a sightseeing trip to the other side of the world.
And it will be the trip of a lifetime. Nine days in China, slated for this October.
Why does a Noblesville Chamber want to travel to China? “It gives us a chance to offer people in Noblesville and the Noblesville Chamber members a chance to go and experience a culture that they would never experience on their own," said Bob DuBois, president and CEO of the Noblesville Chamber, which tonight is offering a free orientation meeting about the trip.
The cool part for our community is that this trip isn’t geared just for business people. It’s for anybody who wants to go.
Even better, the trip will be Oct. 6-14, during Noblesville Schools’ fall break. So families can take their kids. “I purposely picked this (time) because I wanted anyone who wanted to reward their senior with a trip, to a place, again, that they probably never would go on their own,” said DuBois, who is considering taking his own wife and daughter.
The trip, which DuBois promoted at Wednesday’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Purgatory Golf Club, will see all of the traditional historical sights in Shanghai and Beijing, and will visit several traditional businesses of China, traveling to factories to see how items are made. The tour will offer opportunities to visit an historic tea plantation, a silk manufacturer, a rug manufacturer, a pearl factory, a jade factory, and other arts and crafts manufacturers. “These are the kinds of things that the Chinese folks have been exporting for hundreds of years,” DuBois said. “...We won’t see large-scale manufacturing, although we will drive by the plants.”
He said, “Every day, people will be amazed at different things that they see.”
The all-inclusive trip costs $2,399 per person and includes round trip international airfare and Chinese domestic airfare and tax, four- and five-star hotel accomodations, three meals a day, deluxe bus tours with fluent English-speaking tour guides, entrance fees for attractions and historic sites. The afternoon trip offers a nonstop flight, 12 hours from Chicago to Shanghai, with a short jump to Beijing, to arrive by midnight, and includes transportation from Noblesville.
The only extra money you might want to bring is for shopping or adult beverages. But keep in mind that those who go on the trip will have to walk a fair amount, he said, at places like Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Forbidden City (DuBois’ favorite stop), home of 24 emperors with 9,999 rooms; and the Great Wall, the 4,000-mile long and 2,000-year old construction, said to be the only man-made structure visible by the naked eye from the moon.
“You want to have a good pair of shoes and a little bit of stamina to do that,” DuBois said.
The tour will visit the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 AD where the emperors prayed to the heavens for a good harvest; the Summer Palace, featuring the Long Corridor with painted gallery, Seventeen Arch Bridge and the Marble Boat; Lingyin Temple, to see a 64.3-foot-high
“It’s nine days of in-motion experiences for folks,” said DuBois. Participants get up early every day and start with breakfast buffet of American/Chinese cuisine in the hotel. “These hotels are fantastic,” he said, “the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. And I’ve been in a lot of nice hotels because of my work travels.” Lunch and dinner are traditional Chinese family-style meals.
There are a few side trips, including a chance to see the Terracotta Warriors, a Canal Cruise of the ancient Grand Canal and “The Legend of Kung Fu” production, plus other choices.
The tour will visit an economic development zone which is “pretty spectacular,” and there are several local Central Indiana companies that do business in that zone, including Roche and Eli Lilly.
DuBois said participants won’t be required to learn the Chinese language before departure. He said there are only four main phrases that travelers expect to use: “Please” and “Thank you” and “How much” and “Where are the restrooms.” He said, “You’ll know all of these by Day 2.”
About 20 people, including some business leaders, who have shown interest in the trip so far, but DuBois expects many more. Today’s orientation session, led by the Chamber’s Chinese tour contact, will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott, 17863 Foundation Drive, Noblesville. The community is invited. Anyone who can’t attend the session is encouraged to contact the Chamber to set up a private 15-minute overview meeting. Email bob@noblesvillechamber.com or call (317) 773-0086.
Mary Noble, the Chamber’s director of member engagement, went on the trip in October, so that she can talk about the trip firsthand. Her favorite place was Shanghai. DuBois went on a similar trip when he worked for a Chamber in New England, before moving to Noblesville. On his trip, he said one of the cool things that he did was being measured for a custom shirt, which was made and delivered to his hotel the next day.
The touring company hired out of California, for several decades, has worked exclusively with Chambers of Commerce around the nation to expose business people to the other side of the economic equation, to learn about manufacturing and to showcase the Chinese culture, for a better world understanding.
DuBois expects to plan another Chamber trip to a different destination in a couple of years. There are other countries we’d like to explore, “places where there is an economic connection to Indiana and a cultural connection,” he said.
DuBois said. “We would like to embrace diversity more here.”
Other upcoming Chamber events: Chamber member luncheon, Feb. 28, State Representative 29 candidates, Purgatory Golf Club; Taste of Business, Made in Noblesville, April 12, at the new Embassy Suites & Conference Center, 13700 Conference Center Drive South, Noblesville; and the new Women in Noblesville (WIN) Coffee & Connect series, March 13, June 12, Aug. 14 and Nov. 13.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com