BVM & Belgian City Sign Twin Programme
Matthew Sheldon Worcester Standard
The Breede Valley Municipality recently finalised and signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the city of Aalst (Stad-Aalst) in Belgium as part of a twinning/exchange programme to share knowledge and expertise.
Twinning essentially refers to two towns or sister cities who form a social agreement to promote cultural and commercial ties.
A delegation from Worcester consisting of representatives from the Worcester Business Forum and the Breede Valley Municipality (BVM) travelled to Aalst in December 2013, to finalise the outcomes and objectives of the programme.
Wullschleger told the Standard that there are three primary aspects which the two municipalities will focus on namely: local economy (town centre improvement and business cooperation), tourism (marketing strategy, develop tourism products, etc.) and youth (youth development and policy formulation).
“The city of Aalst has a proven success story of saving their town centre by attracting visitors and customers through a marketing campaign referred to as the Aalst Winkelhart.
“Worcester is in the process of adopting some of these ideas and implementing it in our town centre,” said Wullschleger.
He explained that Worcester will share their knowledge of how a business forum engages with a municipality on common interests.
“In Aalst, they don’t really do conferences, meetings or exhibitions over there and would like to learn more about what it entails. It will be a constant exchange of information to benefit both us and them,” concluded Wullschleger.
Key Area of Cooperation:
1. LOCAL ECONOMY (Town Centre Improvement and Business Cooperation)
- Improvement of Worcester town centre
- Industrial business retention and expansion
2. TOURISM (Marketing strategy, develop tourism products, MICE)
3. YOUTH (Youth development and policy formulation)