You probably saw the news today and thought, "that's pretty cool, but what's the UN's World Heritage Cities program?" If any media outlet had bothered to refer to it as its umbrella acronym, UNESCO, it is likely more familiar.
The news? Philadelphia is in line to be the United Nation's next and only city in the United States to be designated a citywide UNESCO site. That's significant. Though the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Cities is long, its most prominent are places like Paris, Rome, Madrid, and Istanbul. That's good company for Philadelphia, especially in a list devoid of the United States' usual contenders: New York and Los Angeles. Even where history plays a significant role, Boston didn't make the cut.
While you might think of Easter Island and Stonehenge when you think of UNESCO, its' Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) are held to the same rigid standards. To be in the running is honorable. Considering the national media's current love affair with Philadelphia, we're already set to see record tourism in the coming year. UNESCO and its OWHC might be too obscure to add to those numbers, but it may be significant to those who've already scheduled a visit.