Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Benidorm - World Heritage Site? Don't sneer

Don’t sneer at Benidorm’s bid for UESCO World Heritage status. It may have acquired a reputation for the sort of holiday rituals you’d rather steer well clear of but it is part of post war social history. It has been described, inaccurately, as the birthplace of package tourism. However, for millions of Brits it was an introduction to the Mediterranean holiday many now take for granted. In the late 1960s one UK package tour operator alone – the ill fated Clarksons, which went bust in 1974 - soaked up 6000 of the 10,000 beds available there. The operator had took so many customers to Benidorm it even set up its own chicken farm there, to control the price of the countless eggs they consumed. Benidorm had been nothing more than a dozing fishing village with a superb beach before its entrepreneurial Mayor decided to turn it into a resort - hopping on his motorbike and taking hnis ideas straight to General Franco. His vision was that buildings should be separated by green areas, so that the growing town didn’t become too much of a concrete jungle. Today the resort attracts some 4m visitors a year – more than many countries. 

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