A delegation led by Consul General Gao Yanping will attend the Southern Oregon-China Tourism, Business and Education Conference Thursday through Sunday.

A delegation led by Consul General Gao Yanping will attend the Southern Oregon-China Tourism, Business and Education Conference Thursday through Sunday.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival hosts a reception for the 52-member delegation on Thursday evening.

Gao will speak at a luncheon at the TapRock Event Center in Grants Pass on Friday. Teresa O'Neill, Director of International Tourism for Travel Oregon, will welcome the group and show a video prior to a jetboat trip on the Rogue.

China is Oregon's fastest-growing International tourism market right now, with projected growth to top 300 percent between 2009 and 2015, said Carolyn Hill, who heads up the Southern Oregon Visitors Association.

"The potential is incredible," Hill said. "We are well-positioned in Southern Oregon due to educational and business connections already in place."

The business and education component of the conference runs 8-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Bigham Knoll Event Center in Jacksonville. The event is free and open to the public, but those wanting to attend must register.

Zhao Yumin, Secretary General of Tianjin Commission of Commerce; Delette Olberg of Trina Solar Ltd; Wilson Chen, Chief Executive Officer of American Pacific International Capital Inc.; Qian Weirong, president of Tianjin Institute of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade, will be among the government officials, business executives, investors and educators on hand.

Ron Fox of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc.; Steve Crowley, Business Development Director for Erickson Air-Crane; and Frank Phillips, head of St. Mary's High School, will also speak.

To register for the Saturday event, go to www.soredi.org or call 541-552-1061.