EDITORIAL - Wondrous city
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2014 - 12:00am

After a spirited campaign for votes, Vigan has been selected as one of the New7Wonders cities. The capital of Ilocos Sur joins the six other cities: Beirut in Lebanon; Doha, Qatar; Durban, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and La Paz, Bolivia.

Nominations to the New7Wonders are made usually by the citizens of a country where a proposed site is located. Filipinos picked Vigan, which has been declared a World Heritage Site for the well-preserved architecture and cobbled streets from the Spanish colonial era.

Vigan’s selection as one of the New7Wonders cities is sure to enhance its appeal as a travel destination. The city is already among the country’s top tourist spots, with tourism a major revenue earner for the province. Part of the revenue is plowed back to the maintenance of the World Heritage Site.

Other areas around the country can learn from Vigan. The city has preserved and promoted Ilocano culture, becoming a hub of regional art and cuisine. It is linked by good roads to other attractions both natural and manmade in the Ilocos Region, giving travelers a wide selection of things to do after they have taken in the sights of Vigan. Local officials have kept the city clean and criminality under control, further enhancing the city’s appeal as a travel destination.

Some of the country’s tourist spots can no longer be saved from pollution and anything-goes development. But others can still benefit from the kind of management that we are seeing in Vigan. Bontoc, for example, with its breathtaking natural scenery, is threatened with informal settlements and the resulting urban blight. In the city of Manila itself, Intramuros and Chinatown can be revived as top tourist spots.

Developing a site as a travel destination is not for aesthetics alone. Vigan has reaped the benefits of preserving historical structures and preventing overdevelopment. Apart from tourists, the city draws investors to the province and the region. The result is a vibrant local economy that provides employment and eases poverty. These should serve as sufficient incentives to develop more cities that are worthy of nomination to the New7Wonders.

 

 

BONTOC CITY DOHA ILOCOS REGION ILOCOS SUR INTRAMUROS AND CHINATOWN KUALA LUMPUR LA PAZ SOUTH AFRICA VIGAN WORLD HERITAGE SITE
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