The City of Philadelphia has become the first World Heritage City in the United States. It received the designation through a vote taken by the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Arequipa, Peru. The designation comes as the result of a two-year campaign and is expected to enhance the City’s international stature and provide a new growth engine to drive tourism and commerce in the region.
As a World Heritage City, Philadelphia is being officially recognized on the global stage for its wealth of contributions to the world as the epicenter of American democracy and for its enduring commitment to preserving the unique historical and cultural assets in its diverse community.
From its Colonial history to the present day, Philadelphia has rightfully earned its place as one of greatest cities in the world. Becoming a World Heritage City is a reflection of all that it has accomplished and a confirmation of the fact that the best is yet to come as Philadelphia continues to evolve and transform itself. This opens new doors of opportunity for Philadelphia while raising awareness of the City’s importance in today’s highly competitive global arena.
Philadelphia’s strong case to become the first World Heritage City in the U.S. began with a revolutionary foundation – the fact that the City is the home of Independence Hall, where America’s Founding Fathers forged democratic ideals into the Declaration of Independence and changed the course of history to give birth to a nation in 1776. It is also where the United States Constitution was written and signed. Independence Hall became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. In 2013, Philadelphia was approved as an Observer Member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Earlier this year, the World Heritage Philadelphia Executive Committee submitted an application to become a Full Member. Philadelphia, the fifth-largest U.S. city, joins 266 other World Heritage Cities in the Organization of World Heritage Cities.
At a symposium in Philadelphia last month, the Global Philadelphia Association and the City of Philadelphia invited more than one hundred leaders in the public and private sectors to discuss ideas and strategies that could be implemented following the World Heritage City designation. Now, these partners will develop and coordinate a plan of action in the months to come. As the birthplace of America, with its rich heritage of history, arts and culture and an ideal location on the Northeast coast of the United States, Philadelphia has so much to offer the world. The World Heritage City designation is a great honor for the City. It further enhances the value of our global brand and will help to attract even more tourists and conventions to Philadelphia.