New 7 Wonders of the World: The Scam Behind the Sham 257

On 11-11-11, the final “New 7 Wonders of Nature” list was released to the public, after years of a slow winnowing process of nominations and voting. This followed the announcement of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” by this same organization on 07-07-07.

Table Mountain view from the ocean

Table Mountain is nice and all, but it isn't even a top 7 mountain... let alone a top 7 natural wonder of the world.

Others have written about how absurd the New 7 Wonders of Nature are and it is plainly obvious that this list of winners is pretty horrible. The 7 New Wonders of Nature are the Amazon Rainforest (good), Halong Bay (so-so), Iguacu Falls (OK), Jeju Island (seriously?), Komodo Island (over the Galapagos?), Puerto Princesa Underground River (again, seriously?), and Table Mountain (not even a top 10 mountain).

The list is pretty horrible and there are plenty of reasons why that is the case: internet voting, developing countries with large populations that wanted to win, and more. But frankly, I don’t really care about why the voting was unscientific or which things should be on the list.

My first thought was — who the hell is running this thing??

That’s where the story really gets interesting.

Bernard Weber founder new 7 wonders of the world

if you see this man coming towards you... RUN, holding onto your wallet

It turns out this whole series of “New 7 Wonders of the World” (nominations now open for the New 7 Wonders Cities, for his next boondoggle) was the idea of a guy named Bernard Weber. He just made the whole thing up. The Swiss-born, now Canadian Weber is a self-described film maker, aviator, and adventurer.

You can add massive scam artist to that list, in my opinion.

I have only been digging into this for a few days, but this whole operation is clearly just one’s guys effort to find a unique way to put money in his pocket.

Weber has pointed out repeatedly that the monies raised on behalf of the effort go towards the non-profit organization that he set up to run the whole thing, The 7 Wonders Foundation, the implication being that no one is going to profit from this at all. There are a number of problems with this defense.

First, there is absolutely no disclosure under Swiss law, where the Zurich-based Foundation is chartered, to disclose how much it pays Weber or anyone else for their services. As we learned during the Greg Mortenson Three Cups of Tea scandal, the people in charge of these non-profits can end up paying themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, out of money donated for charitable causes. Somehow, I doubt that Bernie Weber is doing this without drawing a rather hefty salary, which to this point, he has been unwilling to disclose.

Secondly, and much more insidiously, he set up a for-profit company called the New Open World Corporation (NOWC) to help run and administer the voting and other logistical duties.

How to legally funnel non-profit money to a for-profit endeavor and line everyone’s pockets with cash??

Simple. The non-profit corporation collects $10 million dollars from various sources and then pays the for-profit company $9 million to run all the logistics of the effort. And until I see some documents on this whole situation with the New 7 Wonders, I think it is pretty damn safe to assume that sort of scam is going on here.

But where do they get all this money?

Each country that wanted to have a natural wonder considered for this contest had to submit a $200 entry fee. Their natural wonder was then included in the process of winnowing down by voting and experts narrowing down the list. Not much money to be had, right?

Wrong. That entry fee was just a drop in the bucket.

In recent months, it has finally come to light what sort of financial extortion Bernie has been attempting, and likely succeeding at in some cases, since so many countries are desperate in these economic times to give a boast to their county’s tourism income.


The Maldives pulled out in May, after receiving requests from NOWC including ‘sponsorship fees’ (‘platinum’ at US$350,000, or two ‘gold’ at US$210,000 each) and financing a ‘World Tour’ event whereby the Maldives would pay for a delegation of people to visit the country, provide hot air balloon rides, press trips, flights, accommodation and communications. According to tourism authorities in the Maldives, these services would amount to a total cost to the country’s economy of over US$500,000.

NOWC also attempted to charge Maldives telecom provider Dhiraagu US$1 million for the right to participate in the New7Wonders campaign – approximately US$3 for every citizen in the Maldives – a fee that was dropped to half a million when the company complained about the price.


NOWC reportedly demanded US$10 million in licensing fees from tourism authorities in Indonesia, which had fielded the Komodo national park as a wonder, and required that it foot an estimated US$35 million bill to host the final announcement event.

In February this year, the Jakarta Post reported the country’s Tourism Minister Jero Wacik as stating that the Ministry had received a letter on December 29, 2010 claiming that NOWC would “suspend” Komodo from the list of finalists if it refused to pay the US$10 million license fee.

After Indonesia threatened to sue Weber and his organizations, NOWC relented and left Komodo Island on the ballot. Now that Komodo Island was declared one of the winners, I’d think they have successfully avoided a potentially costly lawsuit that might have also opened up NOWC’s books for public examination.


Further shadiness

  • The contract signed with the Maldives (and reportedly other countries) gives NOWC’s address as a law firm in the Republic of Panama. I am just assuming here, but there might be some legitimate lawyers in…. I don’t know, let’s say Switzerland, that might have looked a slight bit less shady for this Swiss “charitable foundation” to use, but then again, Panamanian lawyers can be quite experienced in skills like money laundering.
  • In April of this year, Indonesia sent a team from Jakarta, to pay a visit to the address written as New 7 Wonders Foundation office: Hoschgasse 8, PO Box 1212, 8034 Zurich, which is the Heidi Weber Museum, dedicated to the work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusie. The museum is only open in summer (June, July, August).
  • Although one could vote online for free, NOWC partnered up with numerous telecommunications companies around the world to offer voting by SMS or text message — at a cost, of course. For example, the South African fee was 2 Rand per message (about 25 cents U.S.), of which half went back to NOWC as pure profit. Handy in Third World countries with more access to cell phones than the internet.
  • Interestingly, the one big international event that the New7Wonders held, with diplomats from the 28 finalist countries, just a few months ago was at Jeju Island, in South Korea. Given other reports, I think it is safe to say that South Korea paid NOWC handsomely to host that event. But perhaps that was money well spent, since somehow Jeju Island ended up winning the voting and being declared one of the New 7 Natural Wonders.
stacks of us hundred dollar bills

this should be the New 7 Wonders logo

I think one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies is appropriate here – “I am shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment!”

By the way, I have not found any source or information that any outside or independent body reviews the voting in any way for irregularity or just plain cheating. Who is to say that NOWC just didn’t take payments to declare some places winners? We will never know.

So what happens after your area is chosen on of the New 7 Wonders of the World and you want to use it to promote tourism there? Licencing fees in the order of millions of dollars are required to even mention the words “New 7 Wonder of the World” in relation to your location.

Just more money for Bernie.

Why isn’t an official body like UNESCO hosting this event? That would at least take this putrid specter of one person profiting off the backs of these countries out of this scam. In fact, the New7Wonders has the gaul to have a link on their website implying that the U.N. supports this bogus organization.

UNESCO took such offense with Weber’s continued claims that the U.N. and UNESCO supported his efforts that they issued a specific release disavowing any ties with Bernie or his New7Wonders organization.

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”…

There is no comparison between Mr Weber’s mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List*. The list of the “7 New Wonders of the World” 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.

If this was Smell-o-Vision you could get a much better visceral feel for what UNESCO thinks about the whole New 7 Wonders scam. Their disgust just oozes from their press release.

As it should.

If you goto the New7Wonders official website, there is an online store selling boxed set official pins of the new7Wonders ($54.95), silver medals (set of 7 for 99 Euros), and stamps… from Gibraltar for some reason (set of 7 for 27.46 British Pounds).

Cheap. Tawdry. And picture perfect for this scumbag scam artist.

I’m not done with this issue. I’ve started to reach out to some sources around the world to see what else I can figure about about this scam. I can’t wait to see what turns up.

After being involved in numerous legitimate charity efforts in my pass, this pisses me off. And I tend to do my best work when I am pissed off.

photo of money —  Some rights reserved by purpleslog

About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

257 thoughts on “New 7 Wonders of the World: The Scam Behind the Sham

  • Micamyx|Senyorita

    I am surprised upon learning that this is not really credited by the UNESCO, but i am just glad that at least the Underground River in Puerto Princesa made it. I think it deserves a spot there. Went there thrice and never fails to amaze me. Wait, lemme write about that :))

    • nadia

      Mica, I think the Chocolate Hills or Ifugao Rice Terraces are more deserving. But then I haven’t seen the Underground River, so I can’t say. But really, the facts surrounding this competition is shocking.

        • itsmybirthday

          does your impression matters? everybody has their own opinion and the majority wins..
          accept it..
          just move on…

        • M Hudzina

          One Vietnamese state-owned bank sets a quota of 600 text messages/employee according to this article:

          A Vietnamese friend of mine told me that she was so upset about the story of a man who burned through his meager saving, used up the money intended for his daughter’s birthday gift to send over 11 thousand messages … his daughter’s birthday will come again, but that was his once in a lifetime opportunity to be patriotic.

          The exploitation of nationalism/patriotism for profit is callous and disgusting!

        • Pham

          Micheal , me again

          I enjoyed your article , I need your article in Audio so I can make a video document on youtube .

          Please help me .



        • jason

          i would vote the vietnam communist government is one of the world wonder (stupid , greedy, blood suckers,parasite ,selfish and naive)

        • Henry Nguyen

          1) Cheating is doing something against the rule. In this case, the rule did not prohibit multiple text messages/phones thus, it is not cheating! Mass mobilization such as one done by Vietnam is being done by other countries as well. What’s wrong with someone if they felt strongly enough to participate even to the extreme of 100,000 messages. I, as a Vietnamese American, voted dozen times and am comfortable with it.
          2) Korea,Thailand, Singapore… spent about USD 100 millions annually to promote tourism using conventional mass media. If Vietnam views this event as a marketing opportunity at a cost of few millions then, it’s cost-effective! Your assumption that Vietnam spent more than Indonesia is perhaps, wrong on 2 counts: first, Indonesia was asked to spend $35 millions not 45 millions ( which they turned down ), second that amount is 1 time cost estimation to host the official launch of the 7 New Natural Wonders not a fee.
          3) Ha Long Bay is also selected by Unesco as world heritage without much intervention of Vietnamese citizens nor government. Vietnamese system has many issues to improve on but, you should stop nick-pick on everything they do especially when you distort facts and make things up as you go.
          4) I am proud that Vietnamese fulled themselves up from the most destructive war to be where they are. I am proud that Ha Long Bay got the world attention and perhaps improved tourism, which benefits people, business and government. I am, however saddened by people who continually obstruct its progress without considering challenges faced by this still very poor nation.

        • Minh

          I don’t want to get involve. But Henry Nguyen. You are so stupid. I am Vietnamese too and I do love my country. But the vote is a big big scam. Don’t you get it? So if Vinh Ha Long are the most amazing place and we have no money.. .then we can make it to 7 wonders. And I just pick up any river in my country. and spent 1 billions dollar to vote for it and it will make it to the top 7. That is a big scam man. Think man. That so easy to know, I don’t know why most people desn’t get it.

    • JME

      “but i am just glad that at least the Underground River in Puerto Princesa made it.”

      Mica, did you even READ the article at all?

    • Erica

      No offense Mica, but based on this blog post, this “honor” of being on this list is dubious at best.

      I’m from the Philippines, and if this was a legit operation, I’d be shouting this victory to the world. But given the information here, I’m actually more embarrassed that we got sucked into such a scam.

      • Dyna Hone

        Filipinos are suckers for world records (most number of couples kissing on valentines day or the world’s texting capital) … endeavours which do not amount to anything. Here’s a fitting title – Laughing Stock of the World and from the movie Dr. Seuss “The Mother of All Mess”.

        • Bryan

          You better watch your tongue (fingers) Dyna Hone! You don’t know anything about Filipinos, other than what you read on the net. If you are one of us (HOPEFULLY NOT), then mas mabaho ka pa sa malansang isda!

        • Ver

          I agree with Dina.

          To Bryan: it would be comforting for you to know that I am a Filipino and I do agree with Dina.

          This list is pathetic and winning it doesn’t depend on merit but only on popularity (and money?).

          Filipinos are in total denial whenever a criticism gets to them. Blame it on false “Filipino Pride”.

        • Sean

          To Bryan,

          Get off your high horse. im a filipino and i agree with Dina. save your misplaced patriotic BS for some other time.

        • PhilippineIslandParadise

          Hey Dyna, i wonder why you devoted much of your time in researching these not so important things. Why not organize an event to break the records. It’s that easy. Let me tell you something and to the author of this blog. I’m not againts your opinion for we are free to express anything unless you want martial law. Firstly, if you’re competing at anything, there are rules. Now, basketball rules are not applied to tennis. This New 7 natural wonders set it rules and one of them is thru voting. Is there a rule that one person can just vote once? Did you know this rule or not? if yes, then why did you not do any effort of selling your property so that your bet would win? It is not right to judge the population of a third world country in winning. It’s one’s country’s effort to put themselves to the world map! All those previous natural wonders that you were saying have been there for years… aren’t you bored in keeping those things forever? To tell you the truth, there are more than thousands of natural wonders which are better off winning. And I’m sorry that your bet did not win! It’s your fault… you don’t know the rules… “ignorance of the law excuses no one”. It’s but unfair for third world countries to be treated this way. Even the poorest of these competitors have their own natural wonders to boast to the world. From what you were insinuating is actually racism… I’m also saddened by fellow filipinos who think like crabs. They are also missing the point. They were all conditioned that grand canyon, and other previous natural wonders were the best here on earth. I’m sure there are something out there, from the third world, that are even better. The only problem is that they were often being ignored because they were not given such importance. And the only reason why you bloggers are clinging into this forum is the fact that you were bitter of the result and your bet were trampled upon by wannabees. Move on fellas! Cheers! Congratulations to the New 7 Wonders of the World!

        • PhilippineIslandParadise

          Hey Dyna, i wonder why you devoted much of your time in researching these not so important things. Why not organize an event to break the records. It’s that easy. Let me tell you something and to the author of this blog. I’m not againts your opinion for we are free to express anything unless you want martial law. Firstly, if you’re competing at anything, there are rules. Now, basketball rules are not applied to tennis. This New 7 natural wonders set it rules and one of them is thru voting. Is there a rule that one person can just vote once? Did you know this rule or not? if yes, then why did you not do any effort of selling your property so that your bet would win? It is not right to judge the population of a third world country in winning. It’s one’s country’s effort to put themselves to the world map! All those previous natural wonders that you were saying have been there for years… aren’t you bored in keeping those things forever? To tell you the truth, there are more than thousands of natural wonders which are better off winning. And I’m sorry that your bet did not win! It’s your fault… you don’t know the rules… “ignorance of the law excuses no one”. It’s but unfair for third world countries to be treated this way. Even the poorest of these competitors have their own natural wonders to boast to the world. From what you were insinuating is actually racism… I’m also saddened by fellow filipinos who think like crabs. They are also missing the point. They were all conditioned that grand canyon, and other previous natural wonders were the best here on earth. I’m sure there are something out there, from the third world, that are even better. The only problem is that they were often being ignored because they were not given such importance. And the only reason why you bloggers are clinging into this forum is the fact that you were bitter of the result and your bet were trampled upon by wannabees. Move on fellas! Cheers! Congratulations to the New 7 Wonders of the World!

    • bob

      The underground river only made it because of all the Filipinos voting and just by volume of people from the Philippines that voted. They didn’t vote because they think it’s a wonder, most of the people from the Philippines that voted have never been to the underground river nor will ever in the future. You only have to look at the 7 wonder cities in South East Asia to see how the Filipinos have manipulated the voting again, all 8 Philippine cities are all in the top 8… what a joke! How are you expected to believe that! The Filipinos are not voting on merit of wonder city but pride. If you ever been to some of these cities u know why, the river that runs through Cebu City has been so polluted by people dumping garbage in it, that its been biologically dead for 20 years… the river is black, disgusting and they vote this as a wonder city??….. Think they need to fix up the voting!

    • bob

      The underground river only made it because of all the Filipinos voting and just by volume of people from the Philippines that voted. They didn’t vote because they think it’s a wonder, most of the people from the Philippines that voted have never been to the underground river nor will ever in the future. You only have to look at the 7 wonder cities in South East Asia to see how the Filipinos have manipulated the voting again, all 8 Philippine cities are all in the top 8… what a joke! How are you expected to believe that! The Filipinos are not voting on merit of wonder city but pride. If you ever been to some of these cities u know why, the river that runs through Cebu City has been so polluted by people dumping garbage in it, that its been biologically dead for 20 years… the river is black, disgusting and they vote this as a wonder city??
      Think they need to fix up the voting!

  • nadia

    Wow. I seriously thought something smelled fishy when I read the list of winners, but I never imagined it is such a big scam! Thanks for sharing this.

      • PhilippineIslandParadise

        I really do hope that you’re truly not after the list but the man behind it. However, could I please ask you to do research on the PP Underground river before opening your mouth and say something on something you don’t know?

        By the way, even Abu Dhabi government is in full support in promoting their bet Bu Tinah… so what’s the point in singling out the Philippines? Everyone want’s to win… it’s like a matter of life and death… it’s like a race!

        Please be fair for some of the people here are missing the point. Like you, they are opening their mouth and saying something on something they don’t know yet… Seriously… again… seriously….

  • jill

    Wow. Now why didn’t I think of this first? 🙂 Seriously, this is disturbing. I wonder how much boost in a tourism a winning country gets and whether it all be worth it for them in the end. I hope so.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Well, it might be worth it to them, but it stinks anyway. This whole thing is putrid, to my nose.

      • PhilippineIslandParadise

        come on pal, i can sense you are just hiding your motiff on blaming the result to the people behind this. but in fact, you were disgusted on the result realizing it didn’t fit your expectation. why not had a violent reaction on the first 7 wonders which was then judged by the same people and the same organizer… i also smell something fishy right there where you are seating which is also putrid to my nostrils, bronchial tubes and lungs… have you also conducted an investigative journalism how the United States, where you are a citizen, claiming you conquered the moon by setting humankind’s first foot out there which is the greatest hoax in history… why nobody complains? because you were a superpower nation compaired to developing countries who have nothing to spend to make their wonders known to the world!

        • L

          PhilippinesIslandParadise, your letting your over sense of ‘Filipino Pride’ combined with a large dose of inferiority complex make for some ridiculous statements. Let’s look at the ‘super powers’ versus developing countries from a more interesting point of view. The ‘super power’ nations and their people don’t have time to waste on such pettiness as this meaningless contest. When Filipinos (especially your president) turn their attention to matters that will make the country great among the world’s nations, this contest will be understood, by many, for what it is: meaningless.

  • Lauren

    Great eye-opening article.

    Ugh. Commercialism at its worst. I’ve been teaching in Korea for over a year, and the whole time there have been ‘Vote for Jeju’ ads running on television.

    I’d certainly agree that money helped Jeju become one of the ‘winners.’ While I don’t doubt that all of the destinations have merit, the decision-makers certainly didn’t.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I don’t particularly blame the countries — everyone wants more tourism, but they should have realized this was one big scam and refused to play along.

  • Emily in Chile

    I’ve seen this contest over the years and never gave it a second thought – crazy to realize it’s a huge money-maker. I hope you can discover and share more details on the behind-the-scenes operations.

  • Ree - Little Aussie Travellers

    WOW, thanks for the eye opening post. To say I was underwhelmed when the announcement was made today is an understatement. Ok, so Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef aren’t everything, and call me a biased Aussie, but I’m struggling to believe that some of the places mentioned are more of a “wonder” than either of those 2.
    It is great to see some places get exposure they perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily get, and it’s only fair to share the “wonder” around I guess, but it would be nice to see it run free of corruption style antics, although that seems to be the way most things run in the world lately, sadly enough!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      A real and legitimately organized deal through UNESCO would have been great. This… not so much.

  • Tom

    This whole 7 Natural Wonders thing is ridiculous. Plus, every member of the South Korean military was ordered to vote for Jeju….how the hell else could the island get on the list?! The Hawaiian islands, the Galapagos, and most of the Caribbean islands are a lot more naturally beautful…

    I’m interested to see what comes up, too – this whole thing doesn’t seem to be endorsed by any major organisation that could feasibly have a role in this, such as UNESCO.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      this Google thing makes research kinda easy 😉

      now to take it to the next level…

      • Vladimir Voronov

        Yes, and you should investigate and show your own facts not just copy those that you Googled!

  • Christy

    What a freaking racket. I knew the voting was sketchy, but I had no idea about this Weber character. Dude REALLY seems in it for the money, and you do a great job of uncovering that.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks. He does seem like the guy that “I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on, if he was on fire” kind of guy.

  • Priyadi

    Hi from Indonesia! It is a rather very frustrating few months to see my fellow countrymen fell into this scheme. However, unlike the other ‘winners’, we, Indonesians, are very lucky to have our government recognize these guys’ tricks rather early. It could have been much much worse, and Bernie get to spend our hard earned tax money.

    To help with your ‘pissed off’, you might find these pages helpful. The Jeju guys might have given Bernie a large sum of money, but not everyone in Korea are like them. Our friends from Korea created this nice sum of what’s going on with New7Wonders here:

    You also might want to look at my writings here: and . They are in Bahasa Indonesia, but you should be able to translate it using Google Translate.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thank you for the resources and information, I will be checking them out soon. I wonder if you have a contact in the Indonesian government that would be willing to talk?

      • Priyadi

        unfortunately no. i don’t have inside contact in Indonesian govt and you can get very different answer depending on whom do you ask. the whole affair has become a huuuuge political mess here:

        * our president replaced our tourism minister in august. the former tourism minister is now our energy minister. and our former trade minister took the tourism post.
        * the former tourism minister appears to be opposed to N7W, after the February fiasco.
        * the new tourism minister has yet to make a straight comment about the whole affair.
        * our tourism marketing guy, who signed up with N7W in the first place (and severed the relation later) has been promoted as tourism vice minister. the OSC guys appear to hate him with passion, presumably because he is the one who severed relation with N7W.
        * our ex vice president has self-appointed himself as komodo’s ambassador and practically took the OSC post from the government.
        * our president publicly encouraged us to vote, but (i think) he doesn’t know anything on the whole affair, and i think he did it only because it was done on stage, on an inauguration event of a new airport (how can he refuse to ‘support’ komodo in front of cheering crowd?)
        * our ambassador to switzerland tried to do detective work there, confirming our suspicion that N7W doesn’t have proper office. however, he jumped at conclusion at times and certainly didn’t make him any more popular here.
        * and me, almost get ran over by an angry mob, incited by a people representative (and also a right hand man of our ex vice minister) who is not the biggest fan of my run of the mill youtube downfall parody describing this N7W affair. this only cools down after i took down the video.

        if you need to ask something, just fire me a message on @priyadi on twitter. i’ll try my best to answer, or at least to find the answer.

  • Priyadi

    You said “Who is to say that NOWC just didn’t take payments to declare some places winners? We will never know.”

    Actually they did or it is very very possible that they did. You see, every N7W candidates have their own OSC (official steering commitee). they have to promote N7W voting to people (or else, N7W can disqualify them), but they are also the same people who set up the voting platform in each country. They partnered with national telcos to setup premium SMS voting service, and they get a cut of income for each vote they get. Some of these will be Bernie’s.

    What if you are in an OSC’s position and want to inflate votes? Simple: you invent votes. You have to pay Bernie for each votes though. Effectively, Bernie takes payments for each of your votes.

    Actually, our OSC has confessed they did. I’ll have to lookup the article and get back to you later.

    You might also find this article interesting: . The Dead Sea OSC aims to get 300-400 million votes to win the N7W. Compare this number to Israel’s population: only 8 million. I will not be surprised if the Dead Sea end up as winner. The result announced yesterday was provisional, as all SMS/phone votes are not counted yet.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks so much for all the additional information. I will be checking it all out and following up soon.

  • uki

    in indonesia you can vote for komodo island by send KOMODO to 9818, but something funny, even if you send random text to that number, they still count it as a vote for komodo island.
    The cost of 1 vote originally is Rp1000,00 (1usd=about 9000idr), but after our former vice-president become “komodo ambassador” the cost of 1 vote become Rp1,00 (normal sms rate average Rp150,00) even later it become free! Combine cheap rate + “nationalism”, voila you get flood of vote! I don’t know how they subsidized the vote, the telco say it was “csr”

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for the information — the more I hear and learn about this, the more I realize how massive this whole scam was and is.

  • Mica

    Some good investigative work. Some of my homies said it best when they said “cash rules everything around me, dolla dolla bills yall”….(ok maybe I didn’t know them but it is a damn good song)

  • Toni

    To put it in plain English, the list ‘sucks’! Not impressed in the lease and I’m even less impressed about reading about the complete douchebag that runs the whole thing.
    I, too, look forward to what your investigation turns up!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks Toni. I am far, far less concerned about the list than the “douchebag,” as you put it properly, who is running it.

  • Adam G

    Thanks for doing some detective work. I’ll certainly be interested to read more about this but I have to admit that, at first glance, it had looked pretty shady to me too.

  • Jenna

    Thanks for checking into this. I had no idea. I always thought those lists and the voting were kind of silly anyway, especially because there are too many amazing places to count, but this shows just how ridiculous the whole thing is. Good job.

  • Amanda

    I heard about some of these fishy dealings a few weeks before the results were announced. On the surface, it seemed like a fun way to be able to have a say in the 7 natural wonders of the world. But, the more I’ve been reading about it, the more apparent it is that there’s nothing fun or fair about it.

    I understand why some of these destinations would jump at the chance to pay up to be able to brag about their “win.” But I’m wondering now, if these unsavory facts continue to be unearthed, will all that money they spent translate into more tourism?

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Well, considering they will have pay a good bit of money (I hear perhaps in the millions) for the right to use “New 7 Natural Wonder” in any of their promotional materials…. yea, they might not see any benefit, unless they pay Bernie.

  • Steve

    You don’t suppose the results aren’t final yet because some of the cheques haven’t cleared yet do you?

  • Abby

    Fascinating. I was approached by two people about it, but it seemed so fishy I didn’t even reply. I kept meaning to look into it, as clearly it wasn’t anything “official.” I’m glad i waited — you did it way more justice!

  • Red Hunt

    Great post. As you are likely aware I wrote about these issues in early October. Money is the obvious driving factor behind this competition, yet voters are unaware of the type of organization running it. I had media in Israel, Canada and South Africa contact me in recent weeks, curious to know more so I look forward to seeing what else you can dig up, as there is a definite interest in knowing more.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Love your post on it also. The more people we getting talking about this scam artist the better.

  • Doreen Pendgracs

    Wowza! Glad you brought this to our attention!

    Indeed, the list had caused me to raise my eyebrows, but I had no idea as to how the list had been compiled.

    It’s one thing to put one’s opinions in a book or blog as such, but quite another to make them seem “official” — as if endorsed by UNESCO or some similar world body.

    I hope your campaign will make a difference.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am not sure I will make any big difference, but considering he is going to continue on with a new campaign for “Wonder Cities” I hope we can all try to spread the word about his scamminess.

  • Jeremy Branham

    I love how you stir up the controversy Michael! 🙂

    With that said, well done on the research for this. I saw the NOWC contest being run for a while but never paid any attention to it. Given all the stuff you pointed out, I am glad I didn’t. The fees and trademarks for this are outrageous. I hope people find out what a scam this is so it doesn’t get any attention at all.

    Seems that what started out as a great idea was taken over by money and greed.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I can’t wait to see if I can get more info on the fees and money side of this thing. Inquiries are being made…

  • Angela

    Wow, I didn’t know about this, actually I usually never even know what the 7 wonders are 🙂 I thought it was some kind of way to boost tourism every year in different countries, how naive of me 😛

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I didn’t pay it much attention either, until they announced them. Then I just had a “what the heck is going on?” moment.

  • Holly

    That is some shady business. I knew this organization was not associated with UNESCO, but didn’t realize how scam-tacular it is as a whole. I had mentioned one of their lists on one of my own blog posts – time to update that information.

  • Cam

    Interesting read Michael. It’s a shame, but alas… money talks. I think there are WAY better selections than those chosen… how is there no Grand Canyon, Galapagos, Dead Sea, Sahara Desert, Cappadocia, Aussie Outback, Great Barrier Reef, etc…??

  • Jeremy

    What do you feel about the original New 7 Wonders campaign? I was a little confused on a few of the picks, say Christ the Redeemer, but overall I thought the list was very well chosen.

    I wonder if the first round was viewed seriously, and when they saw it was a money maker they concocted the Natural Wonders campaign.

    I’ll give Halong Bay and the Amazon their credit, as well as Iguassu Falls, but any list that does not include the Grand Canyon, Galapagos Islands, or Great Barrier Reef is sorely missing something. Most everyone knows of those, and barely anyone knows of Komodo or Jeju Island.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      My problem is a lot less with the list than with the guy running it. This is the sort of thing that should NOT be done for profit. If anyone should be doing it, UNESCO should be.

    • Joel

      Erik – unfortunately many government tourist agencies and their residents are taking it seriously and investing time, money and precious resources to it. That’s the sad part.

  • dtravelsround

    I love that you dug into this. I was entirely unaware of any unethical goings on … until I saw the list of winners. Thank you for doing homework and writing this. I’m curious to see how this unfolds now that Bernie’s been called out.

  • Barbara Weibel

    Michael – an excellent bit of investigative journalism. You should send the link to the NY Times. Just stumbled your post – it deserves to get as much attention as absolutely possible.

  • justthinking

    Help bring light into this issue by publishing on what you find out. Was wondering why we had to send in our votes through text here in the Philippines. I’m glad I came across your post, now I know why.

  • mystery man

    It seems to me that there is some kind of bitterness upon writing this blog. Yes, it is alright to criticize the root of this organization and on where all the money goes. But then again, what matters here is the popularity that this organization have given to each of those newly proclaimed 7 wonders of nature. It’s all about exposures.

    • Barbara Weibel

      Mystery Man: Good investigative journalism is not bitterness, it is fact-finding, which is what Michael has done. Facts are what matter, not the “popularity that this organization have given to each of those newly proclaimed 7 wonders of nature.” Bottom line? Scams like this need to be exposed because they are a violation of our trust.

      • PhilippineIslandParadise

        I agree with you Barbara, but this “investigative journalism” should be balanced out for this is putting some legit contenders in bad light as if not supposed to win… some articles are selective and pinpointing at one or two particular entities and thus losing their credibility…If the result is against their will, why not raise the case to concerned individuals who created this “scam” and close the topic. This only creates rage and dubious interpolations… By the way, everyone has the right to express their thoughts and you cannot please everyone… visitors who comment in this blog is just a small fraction of the world’s population… and this is the fact… you can praise or destroy anyone but you cannot change the result… it’s final!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I can assure you I have no bitterness. Not even sure what that means. For what it is worth, I am a U.S. citizen and I would not have selected the Grand Canyon on my list of New 7 Wonders (though it is a far better choice than a couple of these final picks, like Table Mountain).

      What matters here is that the whole thing is a scam. Period.

  • Trans-Americas Journey

    Great investigative journalism Michael. Never paid much head to this whole 7 wonders things, but this is appalling. Look forward to learning more about this scam as you dig deeper

  • Ren

    Interesting, and thanks for this… if voting had been more… Eurovision-style (you can’t vote for your own country’s entry), then maybe we might have gotten a more balanced list. Plus the fact that in some countries, you can vote for just ONE entry (as opposed to, I dunno, picking SEVEN) is kinda fishy. (That was definitely the case in the Philippines.)

    I have a feeling a lot of people in the Philippines are gonna close their ears and eyes and yell “Bitter!” when they read this. >.<

    • jorge

      Ren: It seems that you’re the one who is bitter here. It is not the fault every filipino who cast their votes but the system itself.

      • Ren

        I have nothing against the Philippines, just the way some people think. Not everyone has the same mindset, of course, but I’ve seen enough public condemnations of anyone who even says something contrary about the Philippines, warranted or not. In any case, I apologize if that’s how the comment sounded.

        I do agree that there is something wrong with the system. Allowing countries to vote for their own nominees and all this money streaming in to get more votes (or to win, as the case may be) does cast a highly suspicious light on the whole New 7 Wonders thing. IMO, it doesn’t feel right that someone can vote for just ONE when the “contest” calls for seven winners. But that’s just me.

        Making the list is great PR for all the winners, but I do hope everyone realizes that the methodology means that the list is the result of, at best, a popularity contest, and at worst, bought votes.

        • via

          i voted from the philippines, and the system required me to vote for 7 entries. i don’t know where you based your accusations on.

        • Sean

          Ren: Im from the philippines, was born and raised there, my counrtymen would probably call me a traitor for agreeing with you but then again i dont give a sh*t. unlike those who react violently, i try and see first if those said against my country and my people have merit. unfortunately, what you said did have merit. so there it is. thank god for constructive criticism, eh?

  • M

    Have to admit, the mechanics of this contest, however dubious it was, is sheer genius – who’d have known pushing the patriotism button of citizens of their respective countries in a highly publicized popularity contest that dealt with a safe subject could have netted Weber millions, and he was able to corner and squeeze tourism officials too. Anyone heard of an investigation being launched and publicized in the newspapers too? Or would that be too embarrassing for anyone or any country?

    Tourism money should be used to preserve and promote tourism spots in the country. The excess payments made to Weber may well mean money from preservation and improvements are going to be tapped to just line his pockets with that licensing bull!

  • pix

    World Votes for New Seven Wonders
    8 July 2007

    On 7 July, 2007, during a live gala event in Lisbon, Portugal, the “New 7 Wonders of the World” were announced, as decided by over 100 million votes from around the world. The event was presided by New7Wonders Founder and President, Mr. Bernard Weber, and was attended by United Nations Office for Partnerships Executive Director, Mr. Amir Dossal, in recognition of the efforts of N7W to promote the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

    The New7Wonders announced in Lisbon were chosen by popular vote from a finalist group of 21 candidates, all monuments and historic sites selected by a Panel of Experts chaired by Former Director General of UNESCO Prof. Federico Mayor. This first-ever global vote was organized by the NewOpenWorld Foundation, using the most widest available interactive media in the world: internet (via and by telephone.

    The UN Office for Partnerships and the NewOpenWorld Foundation share common goals and vision aiming to engage civil society in finding creative solutions to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

    The UN Office for Partnerships serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the United Nations family. It promotes new collaborations and alliances with foundations, corporations and civil society in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals and provides support to new initiatives of the UN Secretary-General.

    The New7Wonders campaigns aim to contribute to the process of uplifting the well being and mutual respect of citizens around the world, through encouraging interaction, expression of opinion and direct participation by voting and polling on popular themes and global issues which are understandable to everyone.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I approved this message, after it got routed to my spam folder, but I have to wonder… what is the purpose?

  • Tacloban Techie

    Nice sleuthing, Michael! Wish I thought of snooping around before sending in a vote.

    Now they have my personal email address, and who knows what they’ll do with all the email addresses they’ve collected through the website.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I can only imagine what they will do with the millions of email addresses now. Good point.

  • Juno

    Good job investigating!! I didn’t know it’s created by that man. Good to know. I had no interest about this whole thing and quite surprised that it is such a big deal. The whole process is obviously sham no doubt. And I don’t like the cencept of ‘the best’ or ‘top’ places in the first place.
    I’m happy for Jeju because I like the place, but not so happy to be in such a sham list.

  • Green PenSouth

    My friend and occasional senior critical theory sparring partner Ninotchka Rosca calls the new 7 wonders of the world contest a “ridiculousity” and the country’s political leaders “an easy prey for carpetbaggers.” I think this aptly describes the very very obvious gullibility of majority of Filipinos who have nothing in mind but FAME. The country can’t even produce it’s own local brand of car or SUV.

    • Light

      I don’t think it is proper to bash people and countries, because that isn’t the issue here. Just my two cents.

    • r.constantine

      hmmm… and what does the philippines, having a “wonder” on that list, have anything to do with being able to produce a local brand of car??? i bet you’re filipino… and a niyog at that… white inside, but forever brown outside :/ stop people bashing, especially your own.

  • unsugarcoatedreviews

    Great post! I never gave much thought about this contest, good thing you took the time to cast a critical eye on it.

    I am from the Philippines but I didn’t vote. I’d rather vote on something based on merit, not just because of affinity.

    I’m interested to see how Weber will react to this.

  • cale

    During new 7 wonders of the world campaign, it was all over the news so I went to browsed the organizers website. and just by the look of the website you can tell it’s a crappy project just like popularity contests in schools. i kept on searching for the “right” website, i thought this is ain’t what the media is talking about, i doubted the organizer’s credibility.

    Then came the new 7 wonders of nature and there were massive campaigns from countries for their local sites to be included in the list, including my country. so i voted to be in one with my countrymen. more and more people supported the campaign even celebrities and government officials.

    I don’t know the facts behind the scam but this crappy project became successful. The organizer’s is making money out of it but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I still believe this is a crappy popularity contest (selection process itself and i don’t know why there is a panel of experts when this is all about popularity) but this have became a sensation and picked up by renowned media. It’s a good business, why didn’t I thought about this first? 😀 but this will be short-lived as people will soon realized it’s crap, waste of resources, and time!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I think what is wrong with it is that they are taking advantage of millions of peoples’ displaced “patriotism” to make millions of dollars of money that just goes into their pockets, pretty much.

  • Erica

    I’m pretty ashamed to say that a lot of my friends fell for this. However, something struck me odd when even after two years there still wasn’t any winners declared for a similar contest. When friends invited me to vote this year, I sort of just ignored it.

    This really bears more looking in to. It’s cool to be part of a contest, but only if it’s legit. In this case, it just makes us all look like a bunch of saps.

  • EdZee

    So our telcos are also on this scam. Imagine how much they earn on the votes for PPUR.

    I wonder if our government officials are also involved.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I would really like some good sources that have inside knowledge on any of the telecom company’s involvement.

      • Priyadi

        it is easy. if they offer SMS voting in your country, then the telecom company is definitely involved. they get their cut of each SMS vote that get sent, probably about 20-40%. the rest goes to OSC and Bernie, of course.

  • Globetrottergirls

    Really interesting – we had no idea there might be something shady about the new 7 Wonders of the World, but after reading this article we see the whole thing in a completely different light. Great investigative work!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks you two — looking forward to running into ya’ll in a few weeks in Thailand.

  • Joana

    I’m from the Philippines, and I knew there was something fishy when they say it’s all voting. I said, “aren’t there supposed to be judges?” Trust me, I was happy about the win, but I didn’t vote.

    Please just don’t hate the Filipinos or any other voter out there from developing countries. I have seen how they did it, they tricked Filipinos into voting by holding raffles and contests, where each SMS vote is a raffle entry that will give them a chance to win big money.

    Considering that the TV shows holding these contests were catered to the poor population due to cash giveaways, people were really fooled. I felt sorry for them really, good thing none of my family and friends voted.

    We wanted experts to judge, not just be chosen by votes that can easily be cheated.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I just sent you an email. Would love to talk more about what you saw going on in the Philippines.

  • Augusto Tesoro

    + points > i wish you were my prof at my investigative journ class!the best findings so far abut this trending issue….

    – points > the first few paragraphs did not exactly make me feel like reading it…i understand where you’re coming from when you gave a run down (e.g. Jeju Island (seriously?))…i also feel for those who share your sentiments….we must remember though that there are people that live there…they call it “home”, just as how i call my alcoholic uncle homie…i know there are better locations there….i agree with you on that all the way…i gues what i’m saying is, in my ethics class, i think i’ll keep my instructor.


  • Melvin

    Great article Michael! You’ve got my full support on this one! Let me know how I can help!

    These things really “piss me off” as well!

    • AdaTheDaydreamer

      I WAS going to write about why the underground river in Puerto Princesa didn’t deserve to win… (so yeah, I didn’t vote for it). I thought the Galapagos Islands along with others deserved a spot. Then I changed my mind and thought maybe it DID deserve a spot as a “New” 7 wonder. After all, it wasn’t the Top 7 that was voted for but the New 7.

      But after reading this, it all came to me… This was advertised on the news (ABS-CBN) that we could vote for the underground river in Puerto Princesa online. And ABS-CBN has Filipino viewers from around the world. I *think the website was even announced.

      It’s a shame that I fell for this scam. After going to the website and knowing how scams work online (given my background in SEO writing), I was really ashamed that I fell for this crap. So yeah, like you I too am very well pissed about this. And Michael has my full support for this one as well.

  • Jay

    Wow! That truly suck to be one of those sucked in by this WONDERful scam. I’m a patriot and I always wish best for my country’s name. But to be cheated while you’re honest with your motives will certainly hit you hurtfully at double.

    It’s a shame that NO ONE had the biggest voice to stop the thing when all were just a simple flare. Now, we’ll scavenge out of this ashes of mess, regretful.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Profiting off the backs of the patriotic in many cases — sick, sick stuff, in my eyes.

  • axel

    i voted for grand canyon and galapagos islands cuz i’m more familiar with them and i found them really breathtaking.

    regarding the “more populous” country thing which some are saying about the unfair votes, consider this: only 10 percent of the vote from countries where the location of (natural) who participated was counted, 90 percent of the remainder was obtained from a global voice. so even if the whole philippines will vote, only 10% from that country will be counted. so i think puerto princesa’s win is really justifiable. i’ve been there and i think it deserves a place.

    i’m against two choices, though: jeju island and table mountain. i have been in jeju island, and though the place itself is quite attracting i do think there are far more beautiful places than it (also, parts of the waters there are quite polluted already… sad). i haven’t been in table mountain but table mountains are not that rare. i’ve seen really good table mountains in africa.

    still, even if the people behind this poll is questionable, i think people should give these places a chance.

    what worries me more is human intervention. i think the worst effect of this so called ‘new7wonders’ is the destruction of these natural beauties… 🙁

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      where do you get your fact that “only 10 percent of the vote from countries where the location of (natural) who participated was counted, 90 percent of the remainder was obtained from a global voice.”?? Thanks.

  • alex

    This is a very enlightening article. I started to get suspicious when I learned some time ago that the UNESCO had disavowed any connection with this campaign. I quickly began to dismiss this whole thing when reports started surfacing that the organizers were accepting payment for countries and their natural wonders to ‘qualify’ for further rounds of voting (always a bad sign).

    Just allow me to point out that what spoils the pleasure of reading such articles as this (at least a little) is sloppy editing and misspelling. When the author misspells ‘past’ as ‘pass’ and ‘gall’ as ‘gaul’ (and I’m not even sure he is aware that the correct spelling is ‘gall’), I have a sudden urge to grab one of those beautifully-written, error-free classics on the bookshelf just to get the bad taste out of my mouth, figuratively speaking.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for the commentary and the editing notes. I can always use a good editor to take a look at my stuff — feel free to come on back regularly and lend me a hand. Thanks.

  • Rante J. Ramos

    Why post this article only after 11-11-11? Had it been earlier, you could have averted further scam.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I wish I’d been paying attention before, but I doubt that a post on this website would have helped much. The real question is why serious news organizations like CNN, AP, BBC, and others got caught up in this and promoted it… and never did any basic research into it at all. And still haven’t.

      • AdaTheDaydreamer

        Yep. Completely agree on this one. Here in the Philippines ABS-CBN was largely involved in the campaign to vote for the PPUR and after reading your post, it made me think if the government was involved. After seeing CNN’s coverage, the worldwide craze over the list struck me. Media is supposed to provide facts without any bias.

  • PolTakNot

    Now I’m looking forward for the organizer’s response to your article. I’m subscribing for updates.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      LOL. I wish they’d reply. Hell, I REALLY with they’d consent to a series of interviews. Somehow I doubt it though….

  • RCV

    It’s no wonder I ignored the campaigns for PPUR to be part of this fiasco. I’ve seen the ads on TV and in FB too. I have not been there so I can’t whether the place was lovely or not but my main concern would be the sudden influx of tourism and its effect on the environment on a country that has rich biodiversity but also one of the hotspots for environmental problems.

    As you said the list was not the main issue but the way it was organized. It’s embarassing to realize that it’s a scam and that my country has the money to pay for such a thing. I salute Indonesia and Maldives for withdrawing.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am starting to hear really bad stories about people being taken advantage on on this. Making the whole thing seem even worse in my eyes than I thought before…. and I thought it was pretty horrible before.

  • Kirsten

    I can’t actually say I am surprised by this having been a scam all along! I smelled something fishy going on from the start. Though, I didn’t think the corruption ran that deep.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Now I am hearing stories of people spending hundreds of dollars to vote for their location out of some misplaced patriotism — money they really could not afford to spend.

  • L T

    It is rather embarrassing. You probably don’t really need to understand Vietnamese to get the gist of this.

    Theo số liệu thống kê từ tổng đài 147, trong ngày “khóa sổ” 11/11, top 10 số điện thoại nhắn tin nhiều nhất là: 09122299XX (315.022 tin); 09530100XX (59.005 tin); 012444910XX (30.636 tin); 09588689XX (23.310 tin); 09588685XX (22.925 tin); 09444350XX (17.623 tin); 09588682XX (16.058 tin); 09756958XX (13.556 tin); 09588671XX (13.556 tin) và 09588679XX (12.588 tin).

    I am not sure if it has been mentioned, but Vietnam’s supposed 24 millions text messages total and Philippines’s 20 millions pale in comparison to Indonesia, which proudly claimed over 14 millions in ONE day.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for the link. I will be following up on it and seeing what more I can uncover.

  • r.constantine

    great expose’! now to spread this to the naive… !
    i voted for a few spots around the world when this first came out — but was surprised to receive a text recently, asking to help PPUR win… i wondered then how much was being spent just to get on that list — which isn’t even official (or sanctioned by a world-respected body)

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I really want some more information from the Phillipines. If anyone has any good stories to tell me about people spending their life savings to vote by SMS or has any contact information for people will to talk in government or in the cell phone companies…. send me an email.

  • Jo

    I’m from the Philippines and knew from the start that this list was not linked to UNESCO and just a popularity contest, but didn’t realize the extent of the shadiness of the operation… Thanks for the new perspective on things.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for your comment and for finding the post. I look forward to more discoveries about this soon.

      • Jo

        Despite being a popularity contest, I still wanted the Philippines to win since we need the business. But I just won’t stand for/ support scams…

        P.S. And I have been to the 4 places on this list. I found them all to be very lovely.

  • Jo

    Oh, and by the way, as enlightening as this article is… Kinda don’t appreciate the dissing of the supposed “7 Wonders” in the beginning of this article.

    Not a very classy move. They may not be in your Top 10, but they are all still just as impressive.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I welcome yours as well. But I think most people that have experienced a good number of the “Natural Wonders of the World” are going to find this list a pretty poor summary of the top 7.

  • Lash

    Wow, Michael, excellent sleuthing! I am impressed. hat’s off to you, mate! and I can’t wait to see what else you uncover. cheers, Lash

  • lorna

    …..then why did you post these things only now?you should have done this beforehand ,so we the voters won’t look stupid…

  • yodi

    I knew it!!! I never supported this from the start because it’s like a dubious beauty pageant to me.
    A specific place dubbed as wonderful because of text votes? How’s that? The Philippines is actively campaigning for this – even the President, so no wonder Puerto Princesa made it on the list.
    It would be more believable if citizens of a specific country could only vote for places outside their own.

  • itsmybirthday

    people move on! dont just blog to death.. go outside ,have a life! see the 7 new wonders of nature!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for your comment. Seems like some folks are concerned about the scammy aspects of this whole thing — even if we all are in favor of getting outside and enjoying the splendors of the world.

  • Craig Zabransky

    Honestly, fantastic work here. Impressive, yet sad for the results. I’ve traveled a bit, and was surprised by the finalists… I wondered what happened to iconic destinations I knew, and now I know.

    But Switzerland based, that is even more surprising since Fifa is based there too… nothing like this happened with the world cup… nope.

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • Rebecca Vaughn

    I have to agree with the weirdness of the selection and the way the winners were chosen… But for you to say Halong Bay is a “so-so”..? Seriously… have you really been around the world to even say it’s a “so-so”? The BULK of SOUTH EAST ASIA is made up of these lime stone formations… PRETTY COMMON if you ask me. You see BETTER than Halong Bay lime stone formations in Indonesia and the Philippines… PHFFFSH!!!! SOOO AMERICAN- ha! The Underground River… HOW MANY UNDERGROUND RIVERS have you visited? Had the Newly discovered Mexican Underground River been in the list, then yes, I agree… the Underground River in Palawan shouldn’t be there, as Mexico now holds the record for being the longest Underground River— but since it’s not… UNBELIEVABLE— you say Halong Bay is a so-so whilst the Underground River, the 2nd longest navigable river in the world you say, “again, seriously?” Man, you need to travel more— you OBVIOUSLY HAVEN’T BEEN AROUND as much as you say. By the way… I’ve seen both HALONG BAY AND the UNDERGROUND RIVER.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I have been to about 65 or so countries on 6 continents in the last 3 years of full-time travel, including going RTW overland, so I suppose I have seen a few things. Would love to see more, of course, and maybe you have. If so, kudos to you and keep traveling — and keep your mind open to new opinions.

      • Rebecca Vaughn

        I have traveled across 6 continents as well, jungles, beaches, metros, provinces, (I usually stay around 2 weeks- long enough to semi-immerse myself in each place…. And I mean each province or city I go to. I try to visit north, south, east, west and central areas of each country) via land, sea and air (small planes and helis), and I do have an open mind, but I do have open eyes as well. How many of these on the list have you seen, may I ask?

        • Michael Hodson Post author

          I think you might be missing the point of the post. It is the organization behind the list that is the problem. Lists are lists. People are going to disagree on any list of “best anything.” More opinions the better. But the point is that this organization is scamming people and governments out of their money.

  • Corinne

    Why Panama? Probably because Panama is one of the places where you can open a business without having to pay taxes. Yeah.
    Very interesting article, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I didn’t follow this event much but thought the list was bullshit. I mean, there were a few good things, but, come on…

  • pub

    Good job investigating! Apparently the Philippines had setup a fund raising promo more that a month before 11.11.11 in case (or if they already knew, when) they make the final 7.

    The Official Gazette posted: PPUR text promo to give away more than P30million in cash prizes

    “The promo, which runs for 90 days from September 30 to December 28 of this year, will give away more than P30 million worth of cash prizes, with the grand prize set at P25 million and five consolation prizes of one million pesos each to be drawn on December 30, 2011.”

    • pub

      …and more recently the Dept of Tourism (DOT) lists it accomplishments in the PPUR-N7WN campaign, which includes road shows in North America, student forums, media tours, voting stations in travel fairs, ads, and all-Filipino celebrity concert.

      Official Gazette: DOT, Puerto Princesa City gear up for Underground River tourism boom after win

      “In addition, the DOT shouldered PPUR collaterals for distribution to local governments and Philippine embassies, as well as placed advertisements in leading newspapers and posters at the MRT, LRT-2, and NAIA to encourage more votes.”

  • Anton

    The mountain’s vegetation types form part of the Cape Floral Region protected areas. These protected areas are a World Heritage Site, and an estimated 2,200 species of plants are confined to Table Mountain – more than exist in the whole of the United Kingdom. Many of these species, including a great many types of proteas, are endemic to the mountain and can be found nowhere else. In addition, the Table Mountain range has the highest concentration of threatened species of any continental area of equivalent size in the world.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Yep. It is one of the world’s most interesting botany sites. Excellent interest for those that love plant life varieties, for sure.

  • Darian Culbert

    Thanks for the interesting information! I agree but this happens in all parts of the world! At least people have tried and still looking for something good in this world!

  • Chris in South Korea

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find the Korean government paid the most to ensure their inclusion. There’s been enough rumors of bribes and stories of corruption that it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

  • LenT

    I agree in some of your views (such as the legitimacy of the organizer of this contest) in this blog. I just have 2 comments in your blog. First, have you been to any of these nominated places? Based on the “destinations” in your site, it seems that you even haven’t been to Asia to judge that some of these are “so-so” or even made it to the list. Second, in your statement “After being involved in numerous legitimate charity efforts in my pass..,” pass should be spelled with “t” so it should be “past.”

    • L

      When using numbers from one to ten, the numbers should be spelled out. Numbers above 11 can be used as numerical digits. So ‘2 comments’ the two should be spelled out. Whoops, sorry, I thought we were policing each and every word for absolute correctness.

  • LT

    I agree in some of your views (such as the legitimacy of the organizer of this contest) in this blog. I just have 2 comments in your blog. First, have you been to any of these nominated places? Based on the “destinations” in your site, it seems that you even haven’t been to Asia to judge that some of these are just “so-so”. Second, in your statement “After being involved in “numerous legitimate charity efforts in my pass..,” the word “pass should be spelled with a “t” not with an “s” so it should be “past.”

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      thanks for the editing tips — can always use those.

      I’ve been to about 60 countries in the last 3 years of full-time travel. I’ve hit some of these sites and a number others that were nominated. Haven’t hit all the finalists, but am looking forward to seeing them all at some point.

  • Jeff McNeill

    What is amazing is how gullible everyone is. Do people actually think a “7 wonders” contest would be anything but rigged and for profit? “Why wasn’t the UN involved?” is an actual question? Wake up and crawl around the planet for a while. The stupefaction that this is anything alarming, is the real problem here.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am not sure what is stupid about asking why UNESCO isn’t involved with creating lists like this. That seems to be part and parcel with what UNESCO is all about — promoting the wonders of the world. But thanks for finding the blog and adding your insightful comments.

  • Japhers

    Wow. well THIS was kinda disappointing, though i did begin to feel something fishy when the list came out.

    I’m just glad i was too lazy to vote for any of the sites :))

  • nat

    It iiss shady, yeah… II coulld never uundersttand how that crappy christ thhe redeeemer coul beat angkoor wat… Its not evven oone oof the tallest standdinngg sculptures!!

  • Red

    I’m Singaporean and have been to a couple of the 7 wonders, plus I’m within easy reach of another 2. And while I agree that some on the list are worth their spot, I don’t think that any list created through voting should even be seriously considered legit.

    Otherwise: Next up is New 7 Wonder Cities…I could just get 5 million nimble-fingered & Internet savvy Singaporeans to text-vote ourselves top of the list. But it doesn’t work that way!

  • yhen

    This is the speech of Philippine President Noynoy Aquino for the campaign to vote and promote PPUR. Just wanna share…

    “In the Philippines we have no less than 80million cellphone users sending nearly 2billion text messages everyday. All we need is 1billion votes, so that is half a day…” [people clap]

    darn… they should have done this scientifically than relying on people’s votes since this is really a prestige title. i mean, yeah am a Filipino, but id be proud of this award if it was awarded by some authorities, like what you said, the UNESCO. though, i’ve seen the PPUR and yes, i was amazed, but i think there are more deserving for this title.

    i actually see it as a competition among countries… but hey, one place does not represent the whole country… and pls, if they are planning to award such thing, at least have a basis of what wonder is or best is…

    • PhilippineIslandParadise

      His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai yesterday voted for Bu Tinah Island to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature during a visit to the Bu Tinah Experience, a replica of the island created by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

      Sheikh Mohammed also called upon the citizens and residents to vote more for Bu Tinah. He was accompanied during his visit by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in addition to a number of ministers and officials.

      Following the visit of Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi to the Bu Tinah Experience, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, said the ongoing, high-profile official support onfirms that the New7Wonders of Nature campaign has gained the interest of the entire UAE.

      “We’re so proud that Bu Tinah is the only finalist representing the Gulf region, so with only 12 days to go before voting for Bu Tinah draws to a close, we’re urging the nation to act now to show their commitment to their environment. A vote for Bu Tinah is a vote of pride in our natural heritage, a vote of confidence in our work to protect it, and a vote for conservation of the environment for present and future generations,” she told the Gulf News.

      Now what’s wrong for leaders to promote their own country’s entries? Know the rules people so you would not be defeated with technicalities…

  • ramsey

    “if you see this man coming towards you… RUN, holding onto your wallet”

    hahaha – brilliant!

    Weber is a genius. And a complete asshole.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: I hereby announce the “Seven Major Assholes of the World” competition. You can become a gold sponsor for only 500,000USD and nominate your own candidate now!

  • Bryan


    What’s your take on the New 7 Wonders of the Ancient World which preceded this?

    Unless of course you also had issues with it and also blogged about it but I failed to read (I checked your previous blogs, but so far saw no violent reactions to the previous.)

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I really didn’t pay attention at all to the previous list. My attention was drawn when this list popped up and I started doing some checking into the shady organization that runs it. As I’ve said numerous times here, I care more about the organization that is profiting off this sham much more than the list itself.

      • PhilippineIslandParadise

        i doubt! period… to balance it out create a blog for the New 7 Wonders of the Ancient world, and the credibility of the same organizers…

      • ***The LensMaster

        If I may suggest, you remove the “seriously” part on your blog. You must admit, too, that your blog is emotionally loaded…Be objective with your blogs, that’s how you become responsible with blogging. Reading behind the lines, one can conclude that you do have motivation behind posting it, not just bringing the culprits down. It becomes clear with your use of “seriously” and “developing” when you refer to other countries not at par with yours in terms of economy.

        I honestly think every country has its own wonder that is why, by itself, coming up with a new lists is ridiculous.

        ALSO, since you’re a lawyer, I suggest you bring your cause in the right forum with proper jurisdiction on this matter. I’ll salute you only once you’ve proven that there was indeed fraud in the entire process and once you’ve bring down the man/organization behind it.

    • Joel

      Yes, what is the deal here? You claim you are against the assassination of world leaders yet you did nothing to stop Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963 so how can you be credible?

  • weber

    hmm for a nice niche.. so interesting i guest you just want to criticized someone just to promote your website.. peace

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am all for being critical of someone that I think is gaming the system for purely his benefit, true.

  • Dee Hernandez

    I wont blame the people who had believed this is legit, because this is the same org responsible for the 7.7.7 lisbon new 7 wonders of the world which was acknowledge by UN. They had establish a good reputation with the first batch of new7wonders. And according to the UN article the lisbon list was concluded with the same system of voting this new batch used, internet and telephone. But if this indeed had turn into a scam, UN should put an end to this or atleast make a clear statement as to their take on the issue.

    I was also wondering if you have any info as to how puerto prinsesa got in the list. Unlike in Indonesia or other countries, in the Philippines there were no massive campaign about the new 7 wonders of the world. Its true you see it on the news (just like any other news) and the FB of the president asking people to vote. But AFAIK no one is forced or threaten to vote here. My real concern is if our government had spent good amount of our tax paying this Bernie just to get in the final list. The system of voting sucks, big time, but there is still big difference between patriotic people voting for their country’s entry and the government paying off just to win.

    Btw, I didnt vote at all.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      The UN and UNESCO did NOT endorse the previous list, the New 7 Wonders of the World. In fact, they specifically disavowed it — that is what the long quote at the end of my post is all about.

      UNESCO has never wanted anything to do with this scammy organization and has never endorsed anything they have done.

        • Michael Hodson Post author

          UNESCO came back with this two days later, as I cited:

          “There is no comparison between Mr Weber’s mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List*. The list of the “7 New Wonders of the World” 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.”

        • Dee Hernandez

          ohh i see.. thanks for the link.

          anyway, hope you can find info about the philippines entry. i’ll be bookmarking this page to view updates.

          ***cant find the reply button on your last post, so im replying in mine. lol

      • Dee Hernandez

        i guess you’re missing my point. The answer to the question whether our government or any government in this contest spent money is too obvious. Of course they have. What I’m asking about is info regarding our government directly paying Bernie just to get in the final list, just like the report regarding other countries. Because I want to know if PPUR got in the list because of some deal or the Filipinos really devoted their money and time to vote. In simple words, I want to know if the Philippine government cheated.

        • pub

          Dee, I understand and totally agree. I too (along with many) would like to know if cheating and/or extortion was involved in this contest. Unfortunately, we may never know considering the non-transparency posture of our government and the contest organizers.

          What I wanted to point out is the dubious 3-month text promo. I can understand having a promo period of 30Sep-11Nov but an additional 2 months that was built in for the period after the voting deadline.

          Just a speculation on my part but… it seems as if they knew they would be on the final list and they knew that the confirmation would be two months later so they designed a promo, fueled by “lotto mentality,” to raise funds continuously up to the confirmation.

        • Dee Hernandez

          Even I who didn’t bother much about the contest knew we will be on the list. As some people had put it, we are the texting capital of the world. Even the president know this as he said in his speech we only need half a day to win this competition. But I would agree that the extended voting is dubious.

  • iyappz travel medical assistance

    I was also wondering if you have any info as to how puerto prinsesa got in the list. Unlike in Indonesia or other countries, in the Philippines there were no massive campaign about the new 7 wonders of the world

  • Fee

    Table Mountain is already part of an area that is a declared UNESCO World Heritage site – UNESCO “recognises areas that are of outstanding natural, historical and cultural value to mankind” so to disregard Table Mountain as “not even a top 10 mountain” is your opinion only, based on what? Table Mountain is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world, estimated to be around 360 million years old. Table Mountain was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is a part of the Cape Floral Kingdom of Protected Areas which is one of the richest areas for plants in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. Table Mountain alone has over 1500 species of plants, more plant species than the entire United Kingdom. Table Mountain is the only terrestrial feature in the world to have a constellation named after it – the southern constellation Mensa (originally Mons Mensae, Latin for ‘the table mountain’). It was named in 1754 for being an important landmark for travellers rounding the then ‘Cape of Good Hope’. I could go on, but the point that I want to make is that you have sullied each of the countries choices based on what – your own opinion – no polls of many thousands (hang on millions) of people. Just you.

    My ‘concern’ with your post is not that you ‘may be onto something’ (or not) as far as Mr Weber is concerned – if there are underhanded shenanigans this is never acceptable. My ‘concern’is the flippant dismissal of some incredibly beautiful places in this world that if you scratch under the surface here, incredible facts I’m sure will come to light that make each of these icons worthy of their new status.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      We all have differing opinions on any sort of “top list.” You think Table Mountain is a top 7 wonder of the world. I don’t. That is the nature of list making.

      More important than inane quibbling over what should or shouldn’t be on this list, or any, is to focus on the underlying scam at hand.

  • unsugarcoatedreviews

    Oh btw Puerto Princesa’s mayor said that within hours before the end of the voting period, they already received 24 million votes (each cost P2.50).

    He also said that the number of tourists rose since the Puerto Princesa underground river became a candidate, from 160,000 in 2010 to 425,000 and that local tourism has already earned P700 million.

    So at least we had positive results from this shady contest.

    • Priyadi

      they said the same thing about komodo over here too. they said visitors has increased two fold after komodo was chosen as finalist. however, this kind of relationship is spurious at best.

      1. komodo/PPUR became a candidate to N7W
      2. tourism board increases marketing to komodo/PPUR
      3. number of tourists rose significantly.

      i for myself do not see 3 as a result of 1, but only a direct result of 2. and 2 can actually be carried out without 1 happening.

      N7W doesn’t actually do ANY marketing. all marketing is done by the respective OSCs. all N7W does is to setup voting platform and crown the ‘winners’.

      and taking a huge sum of money in the process, of course.

      • AV

        It is and will continue to be a mind-boggling phenomenal, the willingness to attribute successes to N7W. N7W cited “60% increase in visitor to Halong bay in the first quarter of 2008.” Here are a few tidbits from the Vietnamese newspapers about visitors to Halong bay:

        April 2006: Reported increase of 24% for the first quarter [compared to the same period of previous year]

        May 2007: Reported increase of 35% for the year
        Sept 2007: Reported increase of 35% for the year, but this time attributed the amazing increase to N7W!!!

        April 2008: Reported increase of almost 60%for the first quarter of 2008 [compared to the first quarter of the previous year] … this is what N7W cited.

        I would agree that N7W probably had some temporary effects on the early 2008 spike, but for the same period, Lao Cai (all the way to the north, near the border with China) reported an increase of 39.5%.

        For the bigger picture, there is a table showing the number of tourists to Vietnam in [year] [international tourists #] [domestic tourists #] format at:, which shows below average national increases for 2008. To me, that seems to indicate teh Halong bay siphoned domestic tourists from other destinations. There’s no net gain.

        What I can find for the period that follows through 2009 is that international visitors dropped, citing the global recession, but domestic tourists to Halong bay increased almost 30%, similar to numbers before the temporary spike. Taking the bigger picture into account, the 24-35% increase in 2006-2007 to Halong was achieved against a 9% increase in the total domestic tourists number. The ~30% number in 2008-2009 was achieved against a 25% increase in the total domestic tourists number. Probably Halong is getting saturated with tourists, but the overwhelming concensus is that Halong has already been over saturated with trash and waste.

        Just Saigontourist + Star Cruise alone have planned/scheduled 87 trips to bring in 190,000 international tourists to Halong bay between November 2011 and March 2012. Have you already booked your cruise to Halong in anticipation of the N7W designation? Let’s see how people will credit their hard work to N7W.

      • Dee Hernandez

        Let me ask you this.. Have you heard of PPUR before the N7W? If your answer is No, then I could say that though the N7W is a scam it can be credited for giving those places some exposure.

        N7W is like an endorsement. Just like in a commercial, if the company would say “We have a great product, go buy it”. Not many people would buy it, because who would say that the product they are selling is bad? That why they hire a third party, mostly celebrities, to say their product is good and worth buying.

        N7W is a scam, no question about it. But I hope we can all be fair and admit that atleast those places on the list got something beneficial out of it.

        • Priyadi

          I admit I haven’t heard PPUR before N7W. But I can say for sure that I know PPUR only because I have been following this N7W scam rather closely. Just ask anyone from a country not involved in N7W if he knows about PPUR or the other ‘winners’. Probably he doesn’t know anything about it.

          Or ask ourselves if we know the list of ‘winners’ of 2007 N7W from the top of our head. Unless we’ve been following this N7W very closely, there’s pretty high chance we wouldn’t be able to tell.

          If I’m travelling to Philipines, then I would probably visit PPUR. But I wouldn’t choose to go to Philipines just because PPUR has been crowned ‘winner’ by N7W.

    • pub

      So… that’s P60 million the telcos charged their subscribers (who normally are charged P1/text). Even with an increase of 150% for each text, enough Filipinos voted to get PPUR into the final7? It’s too bad we’ll never know how the money was divided!

      Unfortunately, the positive (monetary) results may be eclipsed by the negative national credibility and pride if in fact the gov’t duped its citizens.

  • sarisarinight

    actually there was a massive campaign. like the wunderground concert and the 10,000 weekly (?) prize given in willie revillame’s show. there’s also 25million grand prize that’s going to be given this december.

  • Baron's

    Exceellent research and well weritteh artidle/story. I am appalled at learning this…the man should be arrested, tried and then luned up against the wall and executed Stalin style with a bullet in the back of his head

  • Sherry Ott

    Thanks for posting this – I think it’s great info. I hate these lists anyway. I say people should simply get out and see what they want to see…and not let some list influence you. I think your suggestion about getting UNESCO involved is great.

  • Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    Thanks for the great article. Honestly I hadn’t thought that much about the whole competition. But this definitely puts it in a different light. I just got to Sabang to see the underground river (haven’t yet), but there is at least one banner already congratulating the river on winning the N7W competition.

  • Rease

    Wow this is infuriating! I am not shocked this guy got away with it but I am quite appalled. Thanks for gathering all the dirt – I will spread the link!

  • holla

    well i think the author just want to catch everybody’s attention to get more viewers. he doesn’t care about anything but himself

  • MJ

    I’m a Filipino and I’ll visit PPUR soon to see it for myself. Whether it is a scam or not, I’m still proud of all natural wonders found in my country. PPUR is just one of the many natural wonders found in the Philippines. All I’m hoping is for the Filipino people and the government to acknowledge and protect it. I guess somehow the N7W thing contributed in raising the awareness of the Filipinos with our natural resources. All I’m hoping is positive results and good vibes for the Philippines and other countries involved. Have a nice day to everyone.

    • Sugarcane Nomad Dee

      I agree. Sure, they wanted to make money but does that automatically make it a real “scam” then? The places on the list are all beautiful after all. Maybe not the best in the world for some, but actually the best in the world for others.

  • Cheryl

    So they are the winners… There is no choice but to accept the fact. I can’t blame the countries who won, they wanted to their own place to be known so they have their citizens vote for their own.

  • Michael Figueiredo

    Wow! This is very shocking and sad. I was wondering what was up when I heard the “winners.” There are so many better choices out there. I disagree with you though—Iguazu Falls definitely deserves to be on the list.

  • Sugarcane Nomad Dee

    Sure, they wanted to make money but does that automatically make it a real “scam” then?I don’t think so. The places on the list are all beautiful after all. Maybe not the best in the world for some, but actually the best in the world for others.

  • Christina (Jandal Road)

    Holy guacamole, that is one informative post! I had no idea. I remember this was a topic on TTOT or TNI. What a shame it was such a scam! Thanks for all the info!

  • koyoteboy

    We dont know your motives Mr Michael.

    Everything now is on popularity contest! from politics (Bush, Clinton etc) to Entertainment (American Idol, etc)…..

    Tourism needs a boost!

    Philippines needs it…..

  • Juheim

    The Underground River is putrid there’s no doubt about. Trying to rack up votes for the “prestige” in being a part of this list reeks of desperation and insecurity.

    • Ad

      All governments tried to promote their own natural wonder. I see no valid reason for calling PPUR putrid.

  • Pinned Map

    Wow. Thanks for posting this. I was really scratching my head as to why the list of the 7 wonders of the world changed so much. glad to read about the details of the competition.

  • Diosa

    Your information about the scam of new7wonders is ok, but the beginning paragraph where you gave your opinion is totally unnecessary. You just sounded like you’re SOURGRAPING.

    View new7wonders as something like Big Brother. People cast their votes irregardless of who is the better person (can you even logically assess that?). And when that contestant wins, publicity is given. That is prolly why Weber gets away with it since it is technically not a scam.

    The participation is up to the countries, but it’s considerably an investment. That investment will give a return in case there are many followers, which at this point makes a significant number. In short, it’s just like ADVERTISING,

    It’s CAPITALISM. Live with it.

  • Ruben Licera

    Thank you for this insightful review into the shady portions of the “New 7 Wonder of the World”.

    I think Mr. Weber should properly explain the areas in question so as to erase these doubts.

    Lokking forward to's reply on this. I am subscribing to the comments of this post.

  • Corinne

    Wow! Interesting article, controversial thread. Makes for good breakfast reading! Our world is huge! Trying to whittle down all the impressive, awe-inspiring, gorgeous, places out there is just craziness anyway. I have yet to go to a country and not found a place worthy of world-wide notice. The 7 Wonders of the World is an ancient idea…one that needs to not garner anymore attention, let alone money. Thanks for the entertainment.

  • Oase

    This sucks, Komodo island is the best island ever, shut up you crybaby americans that want your little dumb Galapagos to be the 7 wonders, Galapagos is nothing combared to Komodo, Komodo dragons are better than Galapagos Marine Iguanas.
    Shut up michael hoddumbson.

  • Marcia

    OMG, this is absolutely DISGUSTING! Are we that gullible/dumb/stupid/blind? That money could have been much better spent – on a road, a school or a hospital — something tangible. I hope it comes out of their pockets, not the public coffers. This leaves me almost speechless. How does Weber get away with this?

    You know, if these countries’ tourism boards had put out a call for 100 bloggers to visit their countries (no, it wouldn’t be the 7 wonders) but it would have been respectable, unvarnished reporting for a fraction of what they spent. And they wouldn’t have looked so desperate and un-savvy. How sad.

    For the people who thing this is cool, it’s not. I live in a developing country and I’ve seen silliness passing off as policy too many times.

    While I have no evidence (and forgive me if I missed it in your piece) but I can bet my last dollar that if a non-white person or a local had come up with this idea and approached these same tourism boards, s/he would have been laughed out of the room. In many developing countries, being white is seen as an advantage; it screams authority and all the normal checks and balances go out the window.

  • priscilla

    Damn you Michael…I just sucked up nearly 30 minutes reading your post and following comments. If you don’t stop writing such interesting pieces I will never get any work done…
    I must say, I saw something about this quite a while ago and dismissed it as it sounded like a scam to me to begin with. Personally I am not enticed to see the current wonders of the world because they are ones…I want to see the Great Wall of China as a History lesson, but not because of the label.
    It makes me sick how much money is being wasted that could actually help people today and not a promise of tourists visiting tomorrow. It those sights are fantastic then it would be more economical to hire us travel bloggers to spread the word than pursue some bogus prize. Just sayin’…
    Keep up the good work!

Comments are closed.