Philly May Be First U.S. City to Be Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The city could get the nod this year.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia (Photo by Rdsmith4)

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Philadelphia could become the first American city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“We’re told that it’s 95 percent,” Zabeth Teelucksingh, executive director of the Global Philadelphia Association, told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

According to the Business Journal:

Hopes are higher this year for Philadelphia since the United States’ interest in the UNESCO brand was reignited recently as the U.N. designated the San Antonio Missions in Texas, which includes the Alamo, as World Heritage sites.

The designation would be a boon for Philadelphia, likely increasing travel and business in the city, Teelucksingh said.

The director also told the Business Journal that Philadelphia’s status as the sole American city on the list could last for many years since it’s the only U.S. city qualified since Independence Hall is already a World Heritage Site.

Philadelphia’s global rep is on the rise thanks to a forthcoming visit from Pope Francis. The Global Philadelphia Association hopes to do more after the designation is official.

“The plan after the event is to have a communication strategy where the World Heritage designation doesn’t just sit on a shelf, but becomes something that’s realistically used by the city,” Teelucksingh said.

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Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: philadelphiahistoric preservationtourism

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