Like Bruges, Gent has churches, canals, different architectural styles, horse carriage rides and boat rides. Like Bruges, it undergoes periodic facelifts in the name of restoration. Even today, there are works underway in both cities. Despite the best efforts, Gent is dwarfed by it's sibling Bruges.
I say best efforts because the information center at Gent was the friendliest one I have come across today. The person at the desk provided detailed information and a self guided walking tour pamphlet with maps & pictures. She also asked me which country I was from and duly noted it down. My guess is they are analyzing the visitor demographics to find places to promote Ghent.
Ghent has a history of financial troubles. This is evident from their buildings. A church does not have a bell tower as it ran out of money. Another church took 400 years to complete as they ran out of money in the middle of several attempts to complete it. Now, this church is an amalgamation of different architectural styles. Talk about blessing in disguise! There is also huge building that was designated as the postal office initially which was transformed into a shopping mall. Now there is no businesses inside this building despite the location.
Be the financial woes as it may. But then Gent lacks the old world charm of Bruges. There are roads that are not clearly designated for pedestrians for either savoring the architectural beauty or a peaceful walk in the past. The canals lack the controlled yet seemingly uncontrolled vegetation around it which elevates the experience of the pedestrians and the canal riders.
For all the above reasons, Ghent would always remain the sibling who is perpetually overshadowed. Unless the city takes innovative steps to overcome these shortcomings like reworking the city layouts or really cheap tourist packages, this will end up as just another city to visit in a hurry.