Tampa gets a new Sister City: Lanzhou, China
Lanzhou, China has a history as a global trading hub going back to its presence as a key stop on the ancient Silk Road.
Now Lanzhou has a new partner for commerce and cultural exchange: the city of Tampa.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed a Sister Cities agreement with his counterpart from Lanzhou, a metropolis with a population of more than 2 million, this week during a trade mission to China.
City officials said the agreement is the latest step in an 8-year relationship between the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine and the Health and Family Planning Commission of Gansu Province, of which Lanzhou is the capital.
“This agreement strengthens Tampa’s competitiveness as an emerging player on the global stage,” Buckhorn said in an announcement released Thursday. “It bolsters the Morsani College of Medicine and USF’s relationship with the top-notch institutions in Lanzhou.”
Lanzhou is on the Yellow River in northwest-central China. It’s a center of the nation’s oil industry, with related manufacturing, is a rail hub for agriculture and livestock, and has a textile industry with a focus wool and leather goods, according to Britannica.com. It’s home to at least three universities plus a number of scientific institutes. Tourists go there for the Buddhist statuary in the caves and grottoes of Bingling Temple southwest of the city.
USF, the Sister Cities program and the mayor's office are splitting the cost of the trip, which for Buckhorn includes $1,022 in round-trip airfare, and hotel costs of about $75 a night plus expenses.
Lanzhou is Tampa’s first Sister City in China. Tampa now has has Sister City agreements with 11 cities on four continents: Agrigento, Italy; Ashdod, Israel; Barranquilla, Colombia; Izmir, Turkey; LeHavre, France; Oviedo, Spain; Porto Alegre, Brazil; South Dublin County, Ireland; plus Boca del Rio and Vera Cruz, both in Mexico.