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After a two-year global voting period, the provisional winners of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” contest have been announced. Among the top choices: Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls and Table Mountain. See all the winners in our new slide show, 7 New Wonders of Nature.
At the outset of the contest, the organizer of the poll, a Swiss-based group called New7Wonders Foundation, said it expected more than 1 billion people to vote. Means of voting included online, via phone or text message. In the days leading up to the final tally, Twitter was abuzz with urgings from tourism groups and citizens alike to “keep voting.” Indeed, while the foundation claims to have measures in place to prevent voting twice – through registration on its website, for example – the poll was decidedly a popularity contest, driven by those with an internet connection or a phone. The foundation called the results provisional; upon validation and verification, final results will be announced in early 2012.
In researching this story, we also unearthed some controversy behind the initiative. UNESCO, for one, distanced itself from the foundation’s campaign in 2007, claiming “no comparison” to the campaign and the “scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.” Travel blogger Red Hunt posted a critical account of the competition, claiming a “seedy side of what the New 7 Wonders of Nature is all about,” and suggesting participating sights were forced to pay fees far beyond the initial $200 contest entry fee.
Controversy aside, we opted to publish the winning list not only because these are indeed natural wonders in our eyes, but also because as travelers, we’ve experienced some of these places and others top our must-see lists. They’re probably on many of your bucket lists, too, and we hope our gallery of gorgeous photos provides you the inspiration to finally start planning a visit.
As always, we welcome your comments below.
Kim Lowe is editor of Bing Travel.
disagree, these sites are nice, but not the best
You've got to be kidding! South Korea? Kimono Island? South Africa? It looks like you were trying to be politically correct by choosing sites from all over the world instead of picking the best. maybe you were just trying to boost travel to these areas...but please, try again.
How can any wonder list not include The Grand Canyon?
Please.....the best? Wonders? I disagree.
you must be out of your mind these places are ok but i can think of many many other places that are better iagree with Mr.29. or are these places paying to be put on list.
Cannot believe that the Great Barrier Reef was not included in this list! The fact that it is truly a natural wonder viewable from space and the largest living reef in the world drawing millions of tourists a year says it all in my opinion!
All of the 7 wonders are just beautiful breath taking
What about Milford Sound, New Zealand? I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen.
These places are beautiful but not the best. What about Natural Bridge? or the natural mineral formation that looks exactly like bacon and eggs (side by side too) at Luray caverns. and what about Hawaii? Hawaii is far more beautiful than any of these place. I think someone is trying to draw tourists to some of these places. Kamano island, really??? nothing pretty about those big lizards, lol.
How can the gian Redwoods of Northern California not be on this list?
Disagree about Table mountain what is special in that can any 1 explain to me please? Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak volcanic mountain in Africa and 2nd in the World. 365 day's snow on peak while its on Equator line. Is that not enough to make it in 1 of wonder of the world or the people could not be able to vote cause of high rates of voting but thanks to VODACOM to provide free voting but unfortunately it was late.
Any list will not match everybodys experiences and likes, believe you made a nice choice but wouldn't dare to call them the best and certainly not the new 7 wonders of the world.
Would love to know what is behind this poll and advertising of places.
I respect all comments, sorry for the ones that picked locations and wrote the article.
DISAGREE!! While some maybe beautiful, it's has UN-ESCO all over it!
Must question the validity of the "list", the criteria used was far from scientific or even logical, though many of the places make sense, soem do not, the Grand Canyon, or Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon) in Mexico, both are impressive to see, so this popularity contest though interesting is meaningless.
I think the new 7 wonders of the world are awesome!!!!!! You picked some amazing places.
Maybe someday I can visit one of them.
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