The Amazon rainforest, Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Argentina’s Iguazu Falls have been named among the world’s new seven wonders of nature, according to results of a controversial global popularity poll announced on Friday.
The other four are South Korea’s Jeju Island, Indonesia’s Komodo, the Philippines’ Puerto Princesa Underground River and South Africa’s Table Mountain, the New7Wonders foundation said, citing provisional results. Final results will be announced early next year, the foundation has said.
Losers include the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos Islands and the Dead Sea; the latter fell short despite a last-minute call for Israeli votes from the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A total of 220 countries paid a registration fee of US$199 to enter 440 candidates in the New7Wonders campaign, which was launched in 2007 by Canadian-Swiss marketer Bernard Weber following an earlier project aimed at updating the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The “natural wonder” submissions were whittled to 28 finalists, with the winners chosen through millions of votes submitted by phone, text message, and social networks, the AFP reports.
But according to the UK Guardian newspaper, the Maldives government moved to withdraw from the competition in May after a “surprise” demand for$500,000. The Indonesian government, representing Komodo Island national park, followed suit in August and said organizers wanted $10 million in licensing fees and $47 million to host the closing ceremony. both countries refused to pay, but remained in the competition.
Environmental campaigner and writer Tony Juniper told the Guardian “the idea of a global participatory process to engage millions of people in thinking through a list of top seven natural wonders of the world strikes me as a good idea,” but “charging countries fees to promote marketing is not, especially when they are developing countries and this was not part of the original offer put to them.”
The Zurich, Switzerland-based New 7 Wonders Foundation, which runs New7Wonders, denied it charges exorbitant fees to use its optional branding.
New7Wonders said its aim is to create a global memory by garnering participation worldwide. But even as the natural wonders poll came to a close, the foundation has set its eyes on a new survey – the top seven cities of the world. Participating cities will be announced on January 1, 2012.
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