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Pictures: Are These the Seven Wonders of Nature?

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Britany Lincicum
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« on: November 19, 2011, 06:17:10 pm »

Pictures: Are These the Seven Wonders of Nature?



Halong Bay picture: wooden tourist boards visit floating fishing village, for a gallery on the seven wonders of nature
Halong Bay

Photograph by Steven Vidler, Eurasia Press/Corbis

Wooden tourists boats visit a floating fishing village in Vietnam'sHalong Bay, one of the world's new seven natural wonders, as chosen by a global vote.

"Halong Bay is very beautiful and it's very easy—almost too easy—to arrange a trip from Hanoi," said Lonely Planet's Reid.

As a result, the bay has long suffered from pollution and excessive tourism. "Halong Bay is overdeveloped, and some of it hasn't been checked as well as it should," Reid said. "The government is trying to make new measures to make sure everyone has environmental codes, but the results have yet to be seen."

(See your pictures of Vietnam.)

Some conservationists worry that the latest New7Wonders contest could cause harm by drawing global attention to sites that are ill prepared to deal with a tourism influx.

"What I didn't see on their website is any discussion of this issue," said Costas Christ, an editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine. (The National Geographic Society owns both Traveler and National Geographic News.)

"Where is their statement on sustainable practices? Where is their position that these sites must be cared for in a unique way, because some of them are facing serious impacts from tourism?" said Christ, who is also chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognize destinations and businesses for their dedication to sustainability.

The New7Wonders Foundation did not reply to requests for comment.

Published November 14, 2011

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/travelnews/2011/11/pictures/111411-new-7-wonders-nature-world/#/new-7-wonders-nature-halong-bay_43504_600x450.jpg
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 06:20:40 pm »




Iguazú Falls

Photograph by Magdalena Biskup, Your Shot

Water cascades down Iguazú Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina in South America. The crescent-shaped waterfalls are one of the provisional winners of a controversial global contest that allowed people to vote, American Idol style, by Internet and phone to choose the seven natural wonders of the world.

A total of 220 countries paid a registration fee of U.S. $199 in 2007 to enter 440 candidate sites in the latest New7Wonders campaign—the brainchild of Swiss filmmaker and museum curator Bernard Weber.

The hundreds of candidate sites were whittled down to 28 by a New7Wonders panel led by a former head of UNESCO. The winners were chosen in a global public vote that ended November 11.

"We congratulate each of these participants on achieving the New 7 Wonders of Nature status and look forward to completing the confirmation process to celebrate each one in their own official inauguration ceremonies in early 2012," Weber said in a video posted online to announce the winners.

Robert Reid, the U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet travel guides, said Iguazú Falls is widely considered to be one of the great falls of the world. "It's like Niagara Falls plus the Taj Mahal," he said.

(Related: See Argentina pictures and Brazil pictures)

The site's grandeur may have as much to do with sound as with vision. "Last year I was talking to Tony Giles, a blind traveler who's been all around the world," Reid said, "and he said you just go there and it sounds like a symphony."

The New 7 Wonders of Nature contest is the second such contest organized by the New7Wonders Foundation. In 2001, it orchestrated a similar vote for the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World (pictures). Winners were announced in 2007.

"When the New 7 Wonders of Nature are confirmed, they will join the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World as being part of [the] global memory of humankind forever," Weber said.

—Ker Than

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 06:21:55 pm »



Table Mountain

Photograph by Heiko Meyer, IAIF/Redux

The lights of South Africa's Cape Town illuminate the foot of Table Mountain, another of the world's seven natural wonders as chosen by voters round the world.

Table Mountain "is very much a part of local life" in Cape Town, Lonely Planet's Reid said. "There is a cable car that goes up every 10 to 20 minutes, and locals love to go up. The first thing they'll tell you is to take a bottle of wine and go up the cable car."

(Related: See your pictures of South Africa.)

Participant countries have accused New7Wonders of making "surprise demands" for millions of dollars to cover marketing costs and licensing fees. "If this is correct, then that would turn this into nothing more than a marketing scam, frankly," Christ, of Traveler magazine, said.

New7Wonders spokesperson Eamonn Fitzgerald told the UK's Guardian newspaper that the accusations were false and called them baseless.

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 06:22:53 pm »



Amazon Rain Forest

Photograph from Amazon Images/Alamy

The muddy waters of the Amazon River flow along the lush banks of the Amazon rain forest, which was selected as one of seven natural wonders of the world. Sprawled across nine countries, the forest covers some 1.4 billion acres (5.7 million square miles) and represents more than half of the planet's remaining rain forest land.

Lonely Planet's Reid said many people are surprised when they visit the Amazon, because it's different from their expectations.

"People have this idea that they're going to see jaguars left and right. You're unlikely to see jaguars," he said. "You might go through eerily flooded forests or narrow tributaries or wide open rivers, and it might not feel like this dense George of the Jungle experience."

(Related: pink dolphins and other delights of the Amazon.)

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 06:23:50 pm »



Komodo National Park

Photograph by Mauricio Handler, National Geographic

A diver swims among tropical fish in a Horseshoe Bay coral reef in Indonesia's Komodo National Park, another of the seven natural wonders on the new list.

The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon but was later dedicated to protecting other species as well, including marine animals.

(Related: See Indonesia pictures.)

Even though former UNESCO director-general Federico Mayor Zaragoza is on the New7Wonders panel of experts that helped choose the 28 finalist sites, UNESCO has stressed that it is not in any way involved with any New7Wonders projects.

In 2007 the UN body released a statement denying any involvement with the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign and questioning its value.

"The list ... will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public."

That sentiment also applies to the New 7 Wonders of Nature, UNESCO spokesperson Gina Doubleday told National Geographic News.

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 06:25:18 pm »



Jeju Island

Photograph by Lonely Planet Images/Alamy

Patches of snow cover the crater on top of Mount Halla on Jeju Island in South Korea—one of the seven natural wonders of the world, according to the latest global voting competition by New7Wonders.

The final vote tally for the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest hasn't been disclosed, although New7Wonders' Weber said the count beat that of the last competition by "many hundreds of millions."

Despite its popularity, the contest has drawn criticism for being unscientific—there is no process in place to protect against repeat votes, for example—and for a lack of transparency about the criteria used to select the finalist sites.

"Some of these sites are in crisis or facing serious problems," Traveler's Christ said. "Was that looked at? Was that considered or part of the criteria?"

The foundation has already invited nominations for its next campaign: New7Wonders Cities.

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 06:26:36 pm »



Puerto Princesa

Photograph by David Tipling, Alamy

Empty paddle boats await rowers at the main cave entrance at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines, which also made the new list of seven wonders of the natural world.

The 5-mile (8.2-kilometer) underground river flows through several large chambers decorated with hanging stalactites and protruding stalagmites before emptying into the South China Sea. At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water's edge.

"This area is considered one of the last frontiers in the Philippines," Lonely Planet's Reid said.

But as with Vietnam's Halong Bay, there are concerns about pollution and development around the Puerto Princesa underground river. Highlighting such sites with events like the New7Wonders contest could ultimately do more harm than good from a preservation standpoint, Traveler's Christ said.

"It comes down to, what is their motivation?" he added. "Is this a campaign to ensure that the world's last fragile natural wilderness areas and marine environments are safeguarded for future generations?

"Or is it an effort to help developing countries alleviate poverty through sustainable tourism practices? If it's not, and it's just 'we get to wave a marketing flag out here,' then I would say this thing could actually be a damaging effort that could seriously harm these places."

Published November 14, 2011
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Britany Lincicum
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 06:28:00 pm »



Next: 11 World Heritage Sites (Photos)

Photograph by Christian Heeb, laif/Redux

Published November 14, 2011

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/world-heritage/photos/?source=newstravel_travel
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