Singapore gardens aim for UNESCO heritage status
Singapore, one of the world's most densely populated countries, is campaigning to get its 154-year-old Botanic Gardens declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
If selected by the UN cultural body, the lush and serene 74-hectare (182-acre) park on the edge of downtown Singapore will join the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London and the Orto Botanico in Italy on the prestigious list.
The Singapore gardens were founded in 1859 by the Agri-Horticultural Society while the island was under British colonial rule.
The gardens became known for pioneering rubber tapping and orchid breeding techniques and evolved into a hugely popular attraction for Singaporeans and foreign tourists alike.
It now sees around four million visitors a year in a city-state of 5.3 million people.
"The Singapore Botanic Gardens fulfills the criteria for World Heritage Site assessment, and is a well-loved outdoor area for Singaporeans from all walks of life," said the attraction's director Nigel Taylor.
The campaign for the gardens to be considered a UNESCO World Heritage site was initiated in December, said Taylor, a former curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Singapore gardens currently sit on UNESCO's 'Tentative List'.
"Such sites will be further researched on before they are considered for official listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site," said Taylor.
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