Benidorm’s bid for World Heritage site

DSCN2927Benidorm has applied for status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The news was reported today (21st April 2015) in the Benidorm edition of Información alongside the ironically timed coincidental death of José Miguel Iribas, one of the most powerful voices for promoting the mass tourism model in the resort, who died of cancer aged 65: requiescat in pace.

Benidorm’s application for World Heritage site status will take from three to five years and will involve evaluation of the resort’s cultural contributions and its qualities as an example of a settlement that developed in a particularly unique planned high-rise urban scheme. Its ecological and environmental contributions will be assessed as well as its place in history.

As a teacher in a local school, involved in continuous research into various aspects of Benidorm’s geography, history and culture, I can instantly see how Benidorm stands a very obvious chance of qualifying for World Heritage status. If you have read the history, and if you are aware of the local culture and the extraordinary connections in Mediterranean antiquity, the idea of Benidorm applying for World Heritage status is not very far fetched: it is simply a continuation of developmental ambitions begun with an outward international maritime world view going back centuries!

The Guardian reported the story about Benidorm almost immediately, and predictably the bid for World Heritage site status will not be taken too seriously by the British press. However, the benefits for Benidorm tourism (in the rejuvenation stage of the Butler model) will be considerable, with the emphasis now being placed on cultural achievement. The planned growth of Benidorm from small town to skyscraper city has been achieved with maximum focus on the environment. As a planned city with a tourist economy, it provides a developmental model for other cities. The rich cultural traditions and maritime history are also a feature which will be a part of the bid for Heritage status.

This will be a long process, but one which will be beneficial to the promotion of Benidorm in its rejuvenation and repositioning in the tourism market.

Sylvia Plath, 1956 sketch of Benidorm

Sylvia Plath, 1956 sketch of Benidorm


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