A new association has formed to bolster tourism across the globe by pushing the development of twin cities.
Officially launched last Friday at PATA Travel Mart 2018 in Langkawi, the Twin Cities World Tourism Forum Association (TCWTA) aims to build upon the success that exist between the already established 7,000 sister cities worldwide, while developing relationships between new cities.
Enrique Lepehne, TCWTA director of marketing and sales, said: “We want to use this platform to bring twin cities together, to get them communicating, and show them the tourism possibilities and new ways to explore tourism in the cities.”
Initiatives include exchanges between senior travellers, educational exchanges and joint tourism marketing campaigns, Lepehne shared.
Thomas-Peter Binder, TCWTA president, said: “We want to encourage people to travel to the twin towns. While contact through social media is all well and good, it is no substitute for real, personal and direct interaction between people.”
When establishing new twin cities, Lepehne said they are looking for destinations that offer differing cultures, climates and landscapes, such as pairing up a beach destination with a city that is home to mountains.
Twin destinations need not be far away, added Hikmet Atilla, general manager of Raffinesse Travel in Turkey. This year his hometown of Didim in Turkey is twinned with the nearby Greek island of Kos.
He said: “We can combine Turkey and Greece as one holiday, which is helped by the twin city status.”
In the coming months, Lepehne will visit cities across the globe to show them the potential the programme holds to maximise their twin city status.
TCWTA will also attend a series of exhibitions and marts and will host its own gathering on January 18 in Zurich.
The association board will comprise 14 members, including 13 mayors from countries worldwide while Hüseyin Baraner, the only non-mayor member, will be appointed general secretary.
The board is expected meet once a year in the city of the president to exchange ideas, concepts and plans.