The public is invited to attend an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at Hays City Hall to learn about a possible Trade Mission/Sister Cities Delegation to China.
Hays and Xinzheng, China, are Sister Cities. Each city has sent delegations in the past to reaffirm their special relationship, but it has been several years since the last visit. The Sister Cities relationship evolved because Xinzheng is home to Sias International University, which has a long and fruitful partnership with Fort Hays State University.
Hays City Commissioner Eber Phelps suggested the trip should be expanded as a trade mission. Xinzheng, with a population approaching 600,000, is located in Henan Province, a major wheat-growing and aircraft-manufacturing region in China. Henan Province and the state of Kansas are Sister States.
In addition to the city of Hays, representatives of Ellis County, the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development and the Hays Sister Cities Committee have expressed interest in participating in the visit. Local and area businesses are also encouraged to consider participating in the trip.
Many details still need to finalized, and the Jan. 15 meeting at City Hall will help with that process. Tentatively, the trip will last about 10 days, leaving on or about April 6. The possible itinerary may include one day in Beijing; three days in Xinzheng; one or more days in other cities, possibly Xian or Shanghai; and tours of businesses based on interests of the Hays delegation.
A preliminary estimate of the cost is $3,300, which includes airfare, travel in China, hotel rooms (double occupancy), most meals, and tickets for events and sites such as the Great Wall. A U.S. passport is required. Applications will be due at Hays City Hall by Jan. 31. The application should be a short statement of interest and commitment of availability. A $1,000 deposit will be required from those selected by Feb. 14, with the balance due on Feb. 28.