Maldives remains in New Seven Wonders of Nature: organiser

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 19:49

The decision made by the Maldivian government to withdraw its nomination to the New Seven Wonders of Nature has no effect on the Maldives continued participation in the campaign, New Seven Wonders said yesterday.

In a statement, New Seven Wonders said the organisation has accepted the resignation of the Maldives Ministry of Tourism as the Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives. However, proposals have been made for an alternative Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives, the organisation added.

Meanwhile, Maldives Association for Tourism Industry (MATI) today revealed its plan to work jointly with other associations, including the Maldives Association for Construction Industries (MACI), Liveaboard Association of the Maldives and Maldives Association of Yacht Operators (MAYA), to ensure that the Maldives remains in the competition.

New Seven Wonders, which confirmed that the administrative resignation of the Tourism Ministry has no effect on the Maldives being among the 28 official finalist candidates, stressed that the sole authority to decide whether a finalist can remain in the campaign rests with the organisation itself.

The organisation further appealed all the fans of Maldives to continue to actively campaign and vote for the country.

The Cabinet yesterday decided to withdraw the Maldives’ nomination to the New Seven Wonders of Nature, citing the lack of a proper awarding criteria and the requirement to make a payment to proceed with the competition.

Officials from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) believe that certain aspects of the competition raises question.

State Minister of Tourism and MMPRC’s Chairman, Thoyyib Mohamed said the Maldives participated in the competition with an initial fee of US$199 and was not aware of any further fees, including the sum demanded by New Seven Wondeers for sponsor and promotional packages and to continue the participation.

“We participated thinking that only US$199 was all we had to pay. But New Seven Wonders started asking for money this year,” he said.

Thoyyib said the main reason for the government’s decision was not the payments but doubts about the transparency of the competition.

One reason the government thinks that the competition is a scam is because of the organiser’s impatience when it comes to payments and the drastic changes in poll results, he added.

“The banners at the airport were taken down last month and no further campaigning or promotion had taken place since then. But the Maldives bumped up to second place last month. There’s no transparency when it comes to votes.”

MMPRC’s Managing Director, Simon Hawkins said US $500,000 would be spent on bringing the New Seven Wonders team to the Maldives and keeping a new seven wonders balloon suspended in mid-air, as demanded by the organiser.

Speaking with journalists today, he gave a presentation of his research, which he said, made him to believe that the campaign is more a scam to get money than a fair competition.

“The agreement stated that US$199 is the fee but another related clause said that we have to pay for the invoices. I noticed that UNESCO does not endorse this competition and many countries that were chosen recently as the Seven Wonders do not use the competition’s logo. We have nothing to gain from remaining in the campaign,” he said.

MMPRC said US$12,000 (Rf185,040) had been spent so far on the competition, excluding the cost of bringing 25 journalists in a bid to promote the country’s image.

“The Maldives decided to pull out for these reasons. We don’t need to pay for an award to prove the natural beauty of this country, and we don’t want one that needs to be paid for either,” Thoyyib, who stressed that the reasons behind Maldives’ decision would be informed to international media, said.


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