Vail Town Council members discussing sister city agreement with Yamonouchi-machi, Japan
VAIL — The Vail Town Council is seeking input from the community on two draft friendship exchange agreements as it prepares to travel to Japan later this month at the invitation of officials from Yamonouchi-machi, located in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan. The agreements outline the town’s interest in strengthening ties to the Japanese tourism region which is listed as action item 4.1 on the Tuesday, Jan. 16 council meeting agenda. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers with opportunities for public comment.
Friendly exchange programming discussions with the Japanese representatives have been underway since last July, when the council hosted an exploratory visit attended by Yamanouchi’s mayor and other dignitaries. The 12-member delegation participated in a formal meeting with the Vail Town Council on July 17, 2017 which included information exchanges on environmental sustainability, culture and tourism.
The official discussions will continue Jan. 20-26 during a reciprocal trip in which representatives from Vail will travel to Yamonouchi-machi to participate in additional information exchanges. A formal signing ceremony is also contemplated as part of the town’s interest in fostering cultural exchanges and idea-sharing across the globe in pursuit of stewardship excellence.
The draft agreements include a memo of understanding to be executed by Yamanouchi and Vail, as well as an agreement to be executed by Nagano Prefecture. These agreements will considered at Tuesday’s council meeting and help to identify the exploration and development of cooperative projects with Yamonouchi-machi in the areas of education, cultural exchange, promotion of tourism and environmental cooperation, as well as other topics.
Joining Mayor Dave Chapin on the trip will be Mayor Pro Tem Jenn Bruno, council members Travis Coggin, Kim Langmaid and Jen Mason, plus five staff members — Town Manager Greg Clifton, Town Clerk Patty McKenny, Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar, Environmental Sustainability Manager Kristen Bertuglia and Public Works-Transportation Director Greg Hall. Related travel expenses will be paid for the Vail delegates by the Town of Vail.
The itinerary includes two business meetings on Jan. 25. In addition, the delegation will meet with the chief commissioner of the Sports Agency of Japan based in Tokyo, an agency responsible for promoting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games and a mission to help broaden the international commitment to sports competitions.
Other activities will include sightseeing tours to the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park, Matsumoto Castle, as well as skiing at Yakebitaiyama. The delegation will also experience a travel itinerary that highlights advances in transportation including a direct flight from Denver International Airport to Tokyo via United Airlines. The Vail group will also be using the “Bullet Train” to travel between Nagano and Tokyo, a connection that was built to accommodate spectators attending the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Vail currently enjoys a friendship exchange relationship with San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which has resulted in two delegation exchanges, a culinary exchange hosted by Sweet Basil and attendance at a writers’ and literary conference in San Miguel de Allende by two members of the Vail Commission on Special Events and a community member.
In addition, the town acknowledged its long-standing relationship with St. Moritz, Switzerland, created in 1982, when it hosted an information-exchange with Swiss officials during the Alpine World Ski Championships held in Vail and Beaver Creek in 2015.
For more information about Vail’s global friendship exchange efforts, call Vail Town Clerk Patty McKenny, 970-479-2136.