The Spanish seaside resort of Benidorm is about to apply for UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition. Love it or hate it, Benidorm has delighted in more than 250 million visitors over the last fifty years – more than five million visitors a year, making it one of Spain’s most thriving resorts. Now it seems that Benidorm could be set to join the likes of the Pyramids, The Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon, if it is successful in its bid to gain World Heritage status.
This home-from-home resort is best known for its cheap package holidays, high-rise buildings, seaside spots and vibrant night scene. For most, this might seem like a strange addition to the UNESCO catalogue, as the resort has been criticised over the years for its mass tourism, but city officials disagree. They believe that the Spanish resort has as much right to be on the list as any other site, and claim that Benidorm meets the conditions necessary for inclusion, the first of which states that, “[it] represents a masterpiece of human creative genius”.
Before it can go ahead the resort needs the support of the Valencia regional parliament. This will often occur over a two-year period as a list is put together by the culture and education ministry before it can even be considered by the UNESCO agencies. So, don’t expect this decision to be finalised in the coming months, as the application is a lengthy process and can often take three to six years before it is even approved.
Currently boasting more than 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Spain is hoping to add Benidorm to the list. Some of Spain’s current sights include Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona, the Roman Walls of Lugo and the Monastery and Site of the Escurial in Madrid.
So, what is it that makes Benidorm eligible for a UNESCO World Heritage status?
According to the Visit Benidorm Tourist Board, it all comes down to tourism. They said, “Tourism is now the world’s most dynamic and important industry, whether viewed in terms of employment, cultural change or environmental impact, and the beach holiday is a particularly significant component of tourism’s growth and as such, pioneering holiday destinations, like Benidorm, deserve to be taken seriously.”
This former fishing village, which was home to just 3,000 people in 1960s has changed dramatically over the years and is now better known for its built up landscape, hordes of tourists and the cheap and cheerful price tags. This is why Benidorm should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Spain.