The group traveled to Austria, too, where they met with ambassadors, he said.
From the group's first trip to China -- a "particularly obvious" choice because of their economic growth, Ballard said -- the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC) returned with new contracts.
The 20 people who took the business tour met with Chinese economic development specialists to learn about trade with China.
Ballard said it is important that those interested in taking the business tour let the Charleston Area Alliance know soon so staff can start setting up meetings and researching the appropriate connections.
"If businesses wanted to meet with potential buyers, we would begin right now working with you to identify companies," Ballard said. "We would reach out on your behalf to set up meetings with you. It could be 15 meetings in one day if you wanted with people interested in purchasing your product."
Travelers will tour the Lamborghini factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, which is appropriate since "we have such a strong automotive industry in West Virginia," Ballard said.
Travelers will also explore northern Italy to visit the town of Como in Varese, famous for Italy's finest silk production. They will walk through Florence's "food valley" to see the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and tour castles and vineyards.
The total cost of the trade mission is $4099 per person for Alliance members. Nonmembers have to pay an additional $300.
The prices include round-trip airfare from Charleston to Italy, most meals and four-star hotel accommodations.
For more information, contact Jeri Adkins at 304-340-4253 or JAdk...@charlestonareaalliance.org.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.