Stripping Liverpool of its World Heritage status would be a big blow – but the city can still thrive

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The radiation would be a big blow to the city. Post-industrial Liverpool has reinvented itself as a city of tourism, culture and nightlife. Some 37 million arrivals each year contribute to an annual economic impact of £ 3.3 billion for the city, according to pre-Covid figures from Marketing Liverpool. The pandemic-stricken cruise industry has just started sailing again with around 80 cruise stopovers scheduled for Liverpool this year.

The city has 27 Grade I listed buildings and is a touchstone of Britain’s maritime past. In 1912, the Titanic disaster was announced to the world from the balcony of the current room 22 of the Signature hotel, the former headquarters of the White Star Line company.

Laura Pye, director of the National Museums of Liverpool, says the Unesco debate is more nuanced than a simple compromise between heritage and regeneration. “We want future generations to discover the city’s maritime heritage, of course, but Liverpool is a living and breathing city. It’s about finding new ways to use heritage to evolve.”

So, can sites survive a delisting? So far, two places have experienced this fate: the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Elbe Valley in Dresden in Germany. There are currently 53 sites on its heritage hazard list, including the Bolivian city of Potosi and the Everglades National Park in the United States. Unesco has also warned that Stonehenge could be added to the list of dangers during its 2022 review if plans to re-route the A303 road in Wiltshire are not changed. Yet, apart from the Covid-19, these destinations continue to attract visitors.


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