The news was reported today 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!
And yet the ignorant British flagship of modern sneering liberalism, The Guardian, had this to say in its dismissive superficial story about Benidorm’s application: “As it grew from a sleepy fishing village of 3,000 people in the 1960s to a destination of more than 300 skyscrapers…” etc, etc, ad nauseum.
Wake up, Ashifa Kassam – the Guardian’s reporter in Madrid – because you just fell into the same trap that the C minus grade GCSE Geography students fall into in their Benidorm tourism case studies: “a sleepy fishing village suddinly beacame a tourism place beacuse of package tours beacuse my grandad said he went there in 1963 on a propelling plane.” No, Ashifa Kassam, there was no sleepy fishing village: there was a town with long-standing international maritime connections, a vibrant political and cultural life, and an economy that ensured street lighting was installed in 1832, long before many parts of England.
And the Guardian then compounds its ignorance – its total ignorance – of Benidorm with another factually incorrect slur on the resort in an article about two French oceanography “researchers” who don’t seem to have done very much research at all.
“Take Benidorm, where in 1950 just 2,700 residents lived in a sleepy village,” writes the Guardian’s Stephen Starr. He is not much of a star, as he still thinks Benidorm was a sleepy village until it “saw its income fall in the 1950s with the closure of its tuna market. Locals turned to tourism.”
Well, no actually, Mr Starr. They turned to tourism in the mid-19th century, consolidated it in the 20s and 30s, then became involved in urban planning in the 1950s. See the stages properly developed, and don’t keep repeating the primitive C-grade Geography case study. We don’t read newspapers to be misinformed. Here’s your homework, lad: some of the things you might have missed. There are many more.