Does it matter?

By | Category: Travel destinations

Liverpool achieved UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. By 2012 it was being warned that new developments around the waterfront area could affect its status. In 2021 it was stripped of its status due to those same developments.

Liverpool and the liver building. But modern buildings and development can enhance an area as well

What effect might this have on Liverpool?

The thinking is that achieving UNESCO status means that it tourism will grow, tour operators will run tours and trips to the area and that there will be an economic benefit to the surrounding area.

Thus, losing the status will cause a drop in tourist numbers and there will be an economic hit on the area.

But surely this is unlikely to happen because Liverpool is so well known? People visit the city because of its cultural heritage, its maritime background and its shopping. I can’t see that declining due to having its UNESCO status removed.

In its release on its website, UNESCO says that Liverpool has lost its status, “due to the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property.”

That isn’t the most easily understood explanation but, luckily, UNESCO then says, that the removal is because of the “proposed development of Liverpool Waters. The project has since gone ahead along with other developments both inside the site and in its buffer zone. The Committee considers that these constructions are detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity”

Really then the removal is not because of an alteration or deterioration in what was originally listed but because of changes that are planned for the area.

Is this a reasonable decision to take by UNESCO? Will tourists and visitors be deterred from enjoyment by the changes?

Liverpool politicians of whichever political persuasion decried the decision with the mayor of the city region, Steve Rotheram, pointing to the dilemma faced by all heritage sites which is reconciling the past with regeneration, jobs and economic development.

He thinks the site won’t be unduly affected by the planned development.

Time will tell.

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