By SYDNEY MORWENG
The final seven wonders will be determined entirely by votes from the public, with the organisers aiming to attract more than 1 billion voters across the globe.
From an initial list of 261 magnificent natural sites announced in January 2009, Table Mountain was voted onto a list of 77 sites prior to being selected for the final shortlist of 28 in July 2009.
Since last year, voters who participated in the preliminary rounds of the contest and helped to catapult Table Mountain onto the top 28 shortlist can vote again in the final round to ensure Table Mountain makes it into the final list of seven.
Table Mountain, which has become the world’s most visited in Cape Town, surpassing other well known cities is competing against iconic sites including the Grand Canyon, the Amazon and the Great Barrier Reef.
It is the only South African site competing in this contest.
It forms part of the Cape Floristic Region, which was declared a World Heritage Site in June 2004. The Cape Floristic Region is the smallest and richest of the six floral kingdoms on earth, boasting an amazing 8200 rare and endangered plant species, some of which occur nowhere else on earth.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has formed an official supporting committee to champion the mountain’s cause.
This is the clarion call made by the National Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the first person to use his cell phone to vote for Table Mountain to be recognised as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The Minister has made use of a new SMS voting mechanism to support South Africa’s entrant in the global New7Wonders of Nature contest.
Having got a nod after meeting with provincial MECs for tourism (MinMEC), in Parliament last Friday, the Minister announced the new voting platform -using mobile which is quicker than logging in on website- in a concerted effort to drum up national public support for Table Mountain’s campaign, and encourage fellow South Africans to partake in this unique concept which will yield good results and position the country’s brand.
“Following on from the massive success of the 2010 World Cup, South Africans can now focus on 2011 and a completely different contest. This is a race that aims to preserve the top seven wonders of nature for future generations and which gives South Africa the opportunity to be written into the history books for thousands of years to come,” says Van Schalkwyk.
The campaign is run by the New7Wonders Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, an organization which works to foster and facilitate global dialogue through participatory democratic campaigns, and, through these campaigns, promotes conservation efforts worldwide for man-made and natural monuments.
The New7Wonders of Nature contest aims to raise awareness of the incredible variety and beauty of nature around us. The New7Wonders of Nature will be determined entirely by votes from the public and the final 7 announced on November 11, 2011. The campaign is well on track to receive more than one billion votes.
Charles Vuyisile Ndabeni, CE at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, said the nomination of Table Mountain is a sign of international interest which must be acknowledged.
“This is one of the country’s most preserved and visited sites, and as such we must play our role as South Africans’ to rally behind and cast our votes,” says Ndabeni who also said he has submitted his vote and will encourage his staff to follow suite.
The criteria for candidates must be clearly defined natural sites that have neither been created nor significantly altered by humans. The awareness and tourism income generated through the New7Wonders campaign means that these natural treasures can be better preserved for future generations.
Studies have shown that sites participating in a New7Wonders campaign have to date benefited from a total boost of significantly more than US$ 5 billion in increased revenue and brand value.
So, my fellow South Africans and Africans lets get voting!
To vote for Table Mountain fans can SMS the word TABLE to 34874. SMSs cost R2 each and voters can vote as often as possible or visit online at www.votefortablemountain.com or by phoning +44 203 347 0901 and keying in Table Mountain’s code 7725.