What makes a country relevant on the world stage? Its geopolitical standing? GDP? Military prowess?
Right now, it feels like the No. 1 sign of global clout is whether Taylor Swift is coming to town.
Since Swift announced the international legs of her acclaimed Eras Tour, a slew of national leaders, spanning at least four continents, have pleaded with the pop star to add a stop in their country or city, in a bid to get a taste of the tour’s economic and cultural impact.
The View From Thailand
In 2014, Swift canceled her sold-out concert in Bangkok after a military coup forced out the civilian government, and she has yet to return to Thailand.
Pita Limjaroenrat, who is hoping to be the country’s next prime minister after his pro-democracy party emerged victorious in May’s elections, tweeted at Swift on Thursday and urged her to visit.
“Hey Taylor! Big fan of yours. Btw, Thailand is back on track to be fully democratic after you had to cancel last time due to the coup,” he said, adding, “Do come and I’ll be singing Lavender Haze with you!
Within Southeast Asia, Swift is currently only set to play in Singapore, where she has six dates planned for next March.
The View From Canada
Despite an extensive U.S. tour, Swift has yet to announce any Canadian dates. In a tweet laden with references to Swift’s music, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau politely pleaded on Thursday: “I know places in Canada would love to have you. ... We hope to see you soon.”
Last month, a member of the Canadian Parliament filed an “official grievance” over the snub.
The View From (Parts of) Australia
Swift plans to visit Melbourne and Sydney next February, but politicians in other parts of the country weren’t pleased with the fact that she’s not doing a full Australia tour.
“I’m asking you, I’m begging you, I’m pleading with you, I’ll get down on my knees if I have to, please come to Queensland,” Member of Parliament and former House Speaker Andrew Wallace and in an interview with ABC Australia. “There are so many Swiftie fans in Queensland, I am one of them.”
Member of Parliament Patrick Gorman, who represents parts of Perth, said he’s checked that the stadium in Perth is available when Swift is in the country.
“We need the Eras World Tour to come to Perth. ... The Swifties of the Perth electorate back it.”
The View From Chile
Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who once kept a picture of Swift in his pocket and has mentioned that his favorite album of hers is folklore, said in June that he wrote to her to ask that she include Chile in her Latin American tour.
Swift currently plans to play in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.
“One day, she’ll listen to the Chilean Swifties and I have no doubt she’ll come to Chile. Hopefully sometime within the next three years,” Boric said.
The economic impact of Swift’s Eras Tour has been well-documented. In the U.S., cities where she’s played have recorded spikes in hotel revenue and public transportation ridership, and some international hotels have already been booked up.
Research company QuestionPro estimated that the U.S. dates could be responsible for a $5 billion surge in the U.S. economy. Air New Zealand is already adding a slate of new flights to its schedule so Kiwi Swifties can fly to Australia for the shows there.
But there are reasons beyond the money that getting an Eras Tour date feels like a win for a city or country. Over 15 years into her career, Swift’s popularity and influence is reaching a new peak, and the tour has become such a cultural juggernaut that simply hosting a show gives a city bragging rights and its own news cycle.
Local news outlets celebrate when it’s ”Taylor Swift week" in their city. Politicians have temporarily renamed their city, given Swift official declarations, and, in New Jersey’s case, introduced a new state sandwich in her honor.
Swift is a relatively non-divisive and universally beloved celeb, making it easy for politicians to celebrate her and simultaneously impress her army of fans. Even pleading with Swift to visit generates headlines.