The 2017 Global Buyers Mission once again drew in buyers from
around the world to meet with Canadian suppliers in Whistler. As in the past, BC Wood organized themed missions as many of the buyers also wanted to see production facilities or learn about Canadian innovations in wood construction and forest management during their trips. This year, the three missions were organized around SPF, coastal species, and mass timber.
The SPF mission delegates came from Taiwan, Mexico, and Japan. The group traveled to the Okanagan to see dimension lumber and plywood mills before spending a day around Vancouver visiting SPF, reman, and reload facilities.
A large group of Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Mexicans made up our coastal tour. They also had a busy schedule with a long day-trip to Vancouver Island where they saw WRC and hemlock production. The second day around Vancouver allowed them to see more coastal species mills as well as custom cutting operations.
The Japanese construction industry has a great interest in BC’s mass timber movement so unsurprisingly, we had another large Japanese contingent on the mass timber mission. The Japanese were also joined by buyers from Taiwan and Chile. The group was able to experience first-hand the warmth of a mass timber building by staying in the newly opened Lakeside Resort Hotel in Penticton which was built with a combination of CLT and glulam. After learning about the construction of that building, the group was able to visit glulam and CLT production facilities. They then spent a long day at UBC to see all of the great mass timber structures on campus. In one of these buildings, the buyers learned about a BC made innovative new interior door design.
Every year, the buyers are grateful for having the opportunity to visit such facilities as a part of their GBM experience. However, this year, one of the Japanese buyers summed it up best by telling me that the GBM Extended Missions are truly unique amongst industry tours as the participants not only get to see interesting innovations, but they also get to learn first hand from the people who worked on the projects, see where and how the wood products are made, and then get to spend invaluable time in Whistler talking to a wide variety of Canadian producers whose products they can then specify into future projects. For him, it was the Whistler portion that was key to turning what he learned during the tours into actual future business opportunity. We look forward to again being able to offer such “holistic approach tours” with the support of our industry for next year’s GBM.