New 7 Wonders of Nature, is it for real or just a scam?

The New 7 Wonders of Nature were announced last Saturday, and fortunately, Puerto Princesa Underground River was included in the initial list, and that gave us a reason to celebrate. I mean, being part of that means a lot, such as

  1. Being proud of our country’s achievement
  2. Another reason for us Filipinos to travel and discover our own country
  3. We will be known not just as the country were Manny Pacquiao, or Charice came from, but as a country that’s rich with beautiful tourist spots
  4. This can help boost the tourism rate in our country

However, recent events have stirred this positive/good vibes achievement into a bit of a disappointment. There are some news going round and about, that the New 7 World Wonder’s Contest is just a scam, and as GMA News Online have mentioned, “…is now embroiled in a controversy involving millions of dollars in allegedly ‘surprise’ fees.”

I did some further research about the alleged scam contest, and here’s what I found out:

  1. There’s a registration fee worth $199 for entering the said contest (The Guardian).
  2. Maldives and Indonesia withdrew from the contest after the alleged demands for marketing costs (The Guardian)
  3. Bernard Webber, the founder of the New 7 Wonders of Nature was said to be a marketing expert. (The Guardian)
  4. The campaign allegedly attempted to charge a Maldives based telecomm company US $1 for them to participate in the campaign. (Minivan
  5. The New World Wonders Campaign also allegedly demanded over US $45M from the Indonesian Government (US $10 M for licensing fees, and US $35 M to host an event) . (Minivan
  6. There’s no link between UNSECO and the New 7 World Wonders campaign, as they have mentioned  in one of their posts:

“In order to avoid any damaging confusion, UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that there is no link whatsoever between UNESCO’s World Heritage programme, which aims to protect world heritage, and the current campaign concerning “The New 7 Wonders of the World”.

This campaign was launched in 2000 as a private initiative by Bernard Weber, the idea being to encourage citizens around the world to select seven new wonders of the world by popular vote.

Although UNESCO was invited to support this project on several occasions, the Organization decided not to collaborate with Mr. Weber.”

Now I have a few questions in mind as well, such as did the government pay to have Puerto Princesa on the list? Did the government pay any huge fees to the organization seeing this as an opportunity to promote tourism in the Philippines? 

When the news about PPUR reached me, I was happy, and at the end of the day, even if this contest, campaign or whatever it is, is a sham, I’m still proud the PPUR’s in the list, it gives me that happy and good vibe feel. I just hope that the government didn’t spend too much on this, on paying alleged fees. Just my opinion. 🙂