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Voting campaign launched to pitch Jeju for ‘New7Wonders of Nature’

JEJU ISLAND ― South Korea has launched a campaign to encourage people to vote for Jeju Island in an initiative to list seven natural wonders of the world.

The island is one of the final 28 global candidates for “New7Wonders of Nature.”

Lead by the Swiss-based, non-profit New7Wonders Foundation, the New7Wonders of Nature initiative started in 2007.

With 300 days left before the final voting date on Nov. 10, the National Committee for New7Wonders of Nature held a ceremony in Jeju to launch its campaign for votes. Some 200 people attended the ceremony.

“Jeju’s biggest strength in competing against other sites is that Jeju became the world’s first and only place to be awarded a triple crown in the natural science field by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve in 2002, a World Natural Heritage in 2007 and a Global Geopark in 2010,” said Chung Un-chan, former prime minister and chairman of the National Committee for Jeju New7Wonders of Nature, at a press conference at Haevichi Resort Jeju in Jeju City on Thursday.
Chung Un-chan (center), former prime minister and chairman of the National Committee for Jeju New7Wonders of Nature, Woo Geun-min (right), governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, and Moon Dae-lim, chairman of Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council, celebrate the launch of a voting campaign to promote Jeju Island as one of the New7Wonders of Nature at a hotel in Jeju on Thursday. (Jeju Tourism Organization)
Chung Un-chan (center), former prime minister and chairman of the National Committee for Jeju New7Wonders of Nature, Woo Geun-min (right), governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, and Moon Dae-lim, chairman of Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council, celebrate the launch of a voting campaign to promote Jeju Island as one of the New7Wonders of Nature at a hotel in Jeju on Thursday. (Jeju Tourism Organization)

“Secondly, out of the 28 finalists, Jeju is the only candidate site where people, nature, culture, and prehistoric heritages harmoniously coexist in a single location.”

He also said Jeju is the world’s only natural wonder with the seven themes the New7Wonders Foundation has picked ― scenery, the island, a volcano, the seashore, caves, waterfalls and forests.

If Jeju wins, it will be a precious opportunity to switch Korea’s global image from a manufacturing nation to a country with mysterious and beautiful scenery, Chung said.

The committee said the 28 final candidates have been picked from a total of 452 candidate sites after two rounds of voting from 2007 to 2009 and screening by experts.

Among the 27 finalists are the Amazon Rainforest of South America, the Grand Canyon of the U.S., Halong Bay of Vietnam and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

As Jeju is the only candidate in Northeast Asia, the committee will also put efforts into winning votes from Japan and China, on the back of hallyu stars, Chung noted.

“The committee, which was launched in December, plans to establish offices in Japan and China to hold events where hallyu stars can have performances. It’s very important to get votes from overseas,” he said.

The seven winners will be selected through phone votes at 001-1588-7715 and Internet voting at www.jejuN7W.com or at www.new7wonders.com until Nov. 10. The final list will be made public on Nov. 11.

The foundation expects that an estimated 1 billion people around the globe will vote.

Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min, Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council chairman Moon Dae-lim and Oh Chan-ik, honorary chairman of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, were among those attending the campaign launching ceremony Thursday.

Woo said he will make sure to well prepare Jeju’s planned hosting of the World Conservation Congress, dubbed the “Environment Olympics,” in September 2012.

Later in the day, Yongcheon Cave, a lava and limestone cave, was disclosed to the press for the first time since the cave was accidentally discovered in 2005 during drilling work to replace an electricity pole. The 3.6 kilometer-long cave has an 800 meter-long lake where three unidentified fish species were found.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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