LONDON, Feb.22 (Xinhua) -- City bosses in Liverpool decided Friday to seek an extension of its waterfront UNESCO World Heritage Site to include the oldest Chinatown in Europe.
The city's World Heritage Site already spans its iconic dockland area created when Liverpool was one of the world's most important seaports.
Many of the old brick warehouses have been transformed into one of Britain's most visited tourist attractions.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson won backing from his cabinet Friday to seek an extension to see the inclusion of the city's Chinatown as part of an application to take in other historic areas of the city.
Events are already being planned to mark the 20th anniversary this year of Liverpool's signing a sister-city agreement with Shanghai.
Anderson told Xinhua on Friday: "Our proposed extension of our UNESCO World Heritage Site to include Chinatown is very fitting in what is the 20th anniversary year of Liverpool's twinning with Shanghai, two great port cities with a lot in common.
"Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinatown in Europe, with links going back to the first half of the nineteenth century, strong links that continue to this day.
"Our traditional Chinese arch, at the heart of Chinatown, was built to commemorate the city's links with Shanghai and China and it is now a popular destination for tourists.
"As well as thousands of young Chinese students coming to Liverpool to study at our universities, we have seen a massive growth in the number of Chinese tourists, most of them enjoying that home-from-home feel in our Chinatown.
"It seems appropriate that our World Heritage Site should be extended to reflect our rich and diverse culture in a part of the city that has Chinatown at its heart," said Anderson.
A feasibility study will now be commissioned ahead of a formal application to UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.