Komodo threatened with New7Wonders expulsion
Indonesia has reacted angrily to an announcement by the New7Wonders team that the Komodo National Park may be expelled from its list of finalists. The online campaign, which has spent the past three years whittling down a list of global candidates to decide the ‘new seven wonders of nature’, has threatened Komodo with expulsion from the list for what it called “certain legal commitments and official pledges not being honoured”.
Indonesian authorities suggested that this referred to Indonesia’s refusal to host an event to declare the contest winners, scheduled for later this year. The country’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Jero Wacik, was reported by local news portal, kompas.com, as saying that Indonesia had refused the request due to the cost involved in staging the event - said to be around US$45 million. The subsequent decision by New7Wonders to disqualify Komodo was not well received.
“Apparently they are threatening me. Indonesia doesn’t want to be the host, so they’ll dismiss Komodo,” Wacik was quoted saying. “When they threaten us, my nationalism is stirred. Why would I want to be threatened by an NGO like them? It may not even be a credible foundation,” he added.
New7Wonders is funded by commercial partnerships, TV rights and event organisers. It claims to have generated “more than US$5 billion worth of economic, tourism and national promotional value for locations participating in its campaigns”, and has pledged to dedicate 50% of its surplus net revenues to the promotion of Global Memory, which digitally records global heritage.
Komodo National Park had made it through to the final 28 shortlist, along with other natural wonders such as Vietnam’s Halong Bay, the Grand Canyon in the USA, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the Maldives. The final list will be revealed on 11 November 2011.