The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce is beginning a journey that will lead about a dozen local businessmen halfway around the world.
Mark McCord, chamber president, said last week that chamber and city officials are in the process of arranging a trip to New Zealand for a handful of business owners in several different industries to analyze the countrys business climate. In turn, about a dozen New Zealand business owners can expect a trip to Colorado Springs for the same kind of education.
Dates for the trips will be chosen this month for some time in March or April of next year.
And this isnt one of those general tours of the country.
The beauty of this mission is that it will be customized and tailored to these industries, McCord said. When the businessmen touch down in New Zealand, theyll be handed an itinerary created for their own industries.
McCord said New Zealand was chosen for several reasons. The population of New Zealand is about the size of Colorado Springs, and McCord said the strongest industries mirror those in Colorado Springs, such as high tech, sports and top-level call centers. McCord also said chamber officials have formed a professional and personal friendship with former New Zealand Prime Minister James Bolger, who is now the countrys ambassador to the United States.
McCord said when Bolger took office in New Zealand, the economy was a closed one, and was union-oriented. By the time Bolger left after his nine-year tenure, McCord said, he had turned the countrys economy around.
New Zealands Counsel General James Howell also visited Colorado Springs just two weeks ago.
McCord also said many New Zealanders from Queenstown were recently in Colorado Springs for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
The Chamber is working with the City of Colorado Springs Global Advisory Council to further define the trips purposes and goals.
McCord said an increasing interest in a global economy will take the business leaders a long way, and hes expecting the group to come away from the trip with a better understanding of a similar — yet completely different — economy and business climate.
We believe it will be an effective mission, he said.