The New 7 Wonders of the World have been named.
I care. Really I do.
Because now I know where I don’t want to go. So, here are 7 places I would like to avoid in the indefinite future:
- The Great Wall of China,
- Petra (Jordan),
- Christ Redeemer (Brazil),
- Machu Picchu (Peru),
- Chichén Itzá (Mexico),
- The Roman Colosseum (Italy)
- India’s Taj Mahal
Petra. Photo taken by Mikey B.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the choices. I’m sure they’re all splendid destinations. But that is exactly why this whole competition is so painful. If these places were crowded before, they’ll be a regular stampede now. Gone is any hope of enjoying them without having to claw your way through thousands of other sightseers.
It reminds me of another curse plaguing travellers who’d rather enjoy beautiful places without the crowds: UNESCO World Heritage Listing. Travellerspoint member Backpasher wrote about her experience in Old Town Tallin, Estonia:
After a rocky ride on the boat, I arrived in lovely Tallinn - and, so it seemed, so did half the continent! Heritage listing is a funny thing...one of the main aims of listing a cultural/natural treasure is to ensure it is protected. But then, of course, as soon as something gets the WHL stamp on it, every flag-wielding tour group descends upon it.....and is it really possible for a cultural treasure such as Tallinn to be properly appreciated when there are swarms of people there?
Not that the World Heritage Listings and the World Wonders have any official connection. UNESCO has been pretty keen to distance itself from the World Wonders competition:
This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public. [From UNESCO]
They’ve got a point. The whole idea behind UNESCO’s World Heritage Listings is to mark places that ought to be preserved, for the sake of preserving them. The New 7 World Wonders competition, on the other hand, seems little more than a marketing ploy designed to boost tourism for the lucky winners. Will the influx of tourists be accompanied by matching efforts to preserve the Wonders? You’d hope so, but it seems doubtful.
What’s your take? Has the New 7 Wonders of the World competition inspired you to visit those attractions? Or are you a cynical party-pooper like me?