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China trip delights travelers

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By Emily Pollok

Last month, 124 people traveled across the world with the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce on a sightseeing tour of China.
Residents from throughout the county took advantage of the opportunity, bringing along friends and family from other parts of the United States.
“It was an exceptional trip,” said chamber Vice President Melissa Walker-Price, who traveled with the group in April. “We saw wonderful things like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City.…”
The trip was organized last year, an effort by the chamber to provide a way for local business people and other residents to intermingle and form stronger community bonds.
The nine-day trip, from April 11-19, was offered at an incredible bargain – just over $2,000 per person. “You couldn’t beat the price,” Walker-Price said.
Indian Land resident and chamber member Rita Mitchell raved about the trip.
“I met people I would never have normally met,” she said. “It was a really nice experience.”
The travelers visited Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an during the trip, taking in many famous landmarks and historical sites including the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City and the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
Mitchell said she learned much about the Chinese people.
“They are very gracious, and they respect their elders,” she said.
Mary Collins from Lancaster recalled walking along a stretch of the Great Wall of China – a highlight from her visit.
“That was exciting,” she said. “It was just a beautiful sight.”
The Lancaster resident said that if it hadn’t been for the chamber, she would have never considered traveling to China, but now she would go back if she got another chance.
“I feel like I learned a lot about Chinese history and culture,” she said.
Collins also appreciated getting to know more people from Lancaster on the trip, she said.
“It’s important to come together. We are in a county that’s small, but it’s long,” she said. “I found a lot of good friends…. I felt like it pulled our county together.”

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Next trip to Tuscany
The chamber’s next trip is planned for March 2020, this time heading to Europe to explore the Italian region of Tuscany.
Chamber members and Lancaster residents will be able to visit Florence, Pisa, San Gimignano and Cinque Terre over the nine-day journey, with optional side trips to Lucca, Venice and Sienna.
The price for this sightseeing tour is $3,299, if booked by July 1.
“This is truly an amazing opportunity to participate in an international journey to irresistible Tuscany, where program participants can experience the country’s culture, learn about its business climate, and make new friends,” Walker-Price said.
Space is limited. For details or to make a reservation, call the chamber at (803) 283-4105.