Aberdeen’s Lord Provost will visit Texas for the third time in five months next week- but has insisted he is building important bridges across the Atlantic.
Barney Crockett will fly the 4,629 miles to Houston again for the Sister Cities International Conference being held in the city from next Wednesday to Friday.
In March, the Lord Provost was the only British politician to attend, and spoke at, the high-level energy gathering CeraWeek, rubbing shoulders with senior politicians and even Danish royalty.
And, in May, he returned to the city, for the vaunted Offshore Technology Conference, which attracted industry experts from across the world.
Earlier this year, council bosses drew up a new slimmed-down international travel plan for the local authority after previous criticism of some of the visits.
Despite a reduction in the amount of foreign travel which is available for councillors and staff, planned trips this year to Houston in the US, Doha in Qatar, Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico, Halifax in Canada, Karamay in China and Pemba in Mozambique have already been budgeted at a cost of £43,000.
Mr Crockett insisted it was important Aberdeen was prominent on the world stage.
He said: “I will be attending the sister cities world conference where representatives of 600 of the most influential cities in the world will be gathering – and it is only right Aberdeen is there too.
“The relationship between Aberdeen and the city of Houston continues to come on in leaps and bounds and it is important for the city we keep building that relationship.
“And it is not just Houston, we are making links with cities across the world and even governments now.
“More and more across the world, cities are becoming more important, and with any event we have to be in it to win it.
“It can be tumultuous or controversial, but we have to be at these events to show the level of ambition we have and to keep flying the flag for the city.”