Cannes trip an investment in Welland’s future

City officials met with numerous international parties

by Nathaniel Johnson, Welland Tribune

A trip to Cannes during the March Break was no vacation for Mayor Frank Campion and two of the city’s top officials, rather it was investment in Welland’s future.

An investment that has already seen a participant in the four-day Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier (MIPIM) reach out to set up a meeting in the Rose City.

“Myself, our economic director Dan Degazio and our chief financial officer Steve Zorbas attended MIPM. It’s the largest gathering of people in the real estate industry, architects, investors, anyone in that field,” said Campion, adding there were 26,000 people from across the globe in.

Campion said the three went to France to essentially sell Welland. They travelled there as part of the Toronto and Ontario Investment Alliance, made up of Toronto, Hamilton, Welland, Simcoe County, Thunder Bay, Chatham-Kent, Niagara Region, Ontario Investment Office, Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports..

“It’s part of our marketing concept here … to reach out. It was a very good opportunity for all of the partners in the alliance to reach a very specific target market, a target market all in one place.”

Campion said 20 meetings were set up over the four days specifically for Welland, with 11 of those pre-selected and of high interest to the city. Those 11, he added, also expressed in Welland.

“These are people looking to invest in Ontario. Before we went, we had prepared background on who we were meeting with, what they had to invest and what they were looking for. A lot of work went into this before we went there.”

A number of participants visited Welland’s officials on their own, expressing a high interest in the city, the mayor said.

He spoke of companies looking to be close to the U.S. border without being in the U.S., a position which Welland fulfills.

While he couldn’t reveal exactly who the Welland group spoke to while in Cannes, the mayor said there was interest expressed by at least one South Korean company.