Sister Cities Makes $14 Million Impact On City
Fort Worth, Texas – New study just released out of Washington, DC
Sister city partnerships have long been praised for their cultural benefit, but a new study suggests that citizen diplomacy and the exchange it fosters can mean real money for cities and their partners.
Presented at Sister Cities International’s annual conference in Washington, DC last month, the study observed the impact of travel and tourism, foreign investments from sister cities, spending by students and adults coming for exchange programs, impact of volunteers, in-kind donations and more.
Fort Worth was chosen along with Nashville, Tenn. and Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in the pilot study by ValueIdeas, which boosters say could help provide a better picture of the value international ties bring to cities. Fort Worth has 8 sister-city relationships around the world that provide vibrant educational, cultural and commercial exchanges.
Averaging data collected from sister-city committees, as well as private and government sources over a three-year period, the study determined that Fort Worth saw $14 million in “direct and indirect” economic impact in 2016, most of which came from travel and tourism.
The findings come as the Fort Worth mayor’s office seeks to partner with sister cities to further its economic development goals, even while maintaining their tradition of cultural exchange. Fort Worth and Reggio Emilia, a more than 30-year partnership, are researching possible entrepreneurial exchanges next year.
The study estimated that the impact of Sister Cities International-related exchanges on the U.S. economy, network-wide, is $525 million.