July 10, 2009

Dead Sea in natural wonders competition

The Dead Sea has reached the next stage in the international competition grading the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Israeli tourism officials said.

Israel's candidacy for the competition was made possible after the Tourist Ministries of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed agreements supporting the move, the officials said.

Hoping the lowest place on Earth will be declared one of the competition's winners, Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov has planned a promotion encouraging tourism in the area, the officials said.

Results of the next round in the competition are to be announced July 22, the officials said, adding the ministry will allow voting to take place on its Web site.

Other contenders for the title include the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Grand Canyon in the United States, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, Niagara Falls on the U.S.-Canadian border, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Black Forest in Germany and the Maldives Islands, the atoll nation off the southern tip of India.