November 13, 2011
Winners Of Controversial Natural Wonders Poll Announced
The Amazon, Vietnam's Halong Bay, South America's Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island in South Korea, Komodo Island in Indonesia, the Philippines' Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Table Mountain in South Africa have been named the new seven wonders of nature.
These seven landmarks beat out others, including the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Vesuvius, and the Dead Sea in what USA Today reporter Laura Bly called "a controversial global popularity poll" operated by the New 7 Wonders Foundation of Zurich, Switzerland. The results of the four-year-long contest were announced Friday.
According to a Thursday report by Nicholas Milton of the Guardian, the controversy stems from claims that the organizers had allegedly asked the governments of the contending wonders for "millions of dollars in marketing costs," on top of a $199 entry fee up front for the contest. After paying that registration fee, Milton notes that each nation was asked "to take part in a high-profile global marketing campaign that included a world tour."
"In May, the Maldives government moved to withdraw from the competition after receiving a 'surprise' demand for half a million dollars," the Guardian reporter said. "They were followed in August by the Indonesian government, representing Komodo Island national park, who said the organizers wanted $10m dollars in licensing fees and $47m dollars to host the closing ceremony."
Eamonn Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the New 7 Wonders Foundation, denied that it charges what Milton refers to as "exorbitant fees" in order to use its branding. He added that there were various fees for using that branding, but did not provide exact figures, saying that they "vary by country" and that the foundation does "not comment on business and commercial aspects" of the contest.
The AFP notes that the contest was decided in a worldwide poll, in which anyone could vote by placing a telephone call, sending a text message, or utilizing social networking websites to vote for their favorite locations. The provisional winners were announced at 1111 Greenwich Mean Time on Friday, November 11, 2011, with confirmation scheduled for a winners' ceremony in early 2012, the organization announced on their official website.
Image Caption: Iguazu Falls in South America. Credit: Photos.com
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