3 May 2012
Table Mountain’s status as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature is official, following confirmation of the results of New7Wonders’ global voting process by an international audit.
“Table Mountain’s ‘provisional’ status after international voting closed on 11 November 2011 has been changed to ‘official’,” New7Wonders, the organisation behind the campaign, announced on Thursday.
The results followed three years of intense campaigning in a contest that drew millions of votes from 220 countries.
Place on the global ‘must see’ list
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, quoted in a New7Wonders statement, described the title as “a great accolade for a unique wonder of nature that belongs to all the people of Cape Town, South Africa, Africa and the world.
“The New Seven Wonders title has great long-term marketing value for Cape Town and South Africa,” De Lille said. “The wonder becomes part of school curricula, it becomes a ‘must see’ and ‘bucket list’ item for travellers and explorers.”
Sabine Lehmann, chairperson of the Table Mountain official supporters committee, said the official confirmation would provide a significant boost to the South African tourism industry.
“Visitor numbers to Table Mountain reached record numbers after the mountain was named on the provisional list of seven sites on 11 November 2011, and we expect the official confirmation to further boost visitor interest locally and abroad,” Lehmann said.
“This is already the case for the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the New7Wonder site in the Philippines.”
According to New7Wonders, the Philippines island that is home to the Puerto Princesa Underground River used to have three flights a week and now has 22 flights a week, while the actual site used to attract an average of 150 visitors a day and now has 2 000 visitors a day.
“The island is building a new international airport to cope with the influx of visitors,” Lehmann said.
Nelson Mandela’s ‘mountain of hope’
Lehmann expressed her gratitude to all those who had supported the Vote for Table Mountain campaign, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former president FW de Klerk, the Springbok rugby team, and countless ordinary South Africans.
Bernard Weber, president of New7Wonders, said it was of great significance that Table Mountain had been “chosen by voters globally to be the representative of Africa’s unique natural heritage.
“Along with possessing a biodiversity that is exceptionally important, given its proximity to a major city, Table Mountain is notable for the historic role it played in helping Nelson Mandela cope with his long years of imprisonment,” Weber said.
“Through the bars of his cell on Robben Island, the sight of the peak with its table cloth of cloud offered him hope of brighter days to come, and the statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory on 8 November last year supporting the call to vote for Table Mountain was both an endorsement of the South African finalist and a tribute to its ability to inspire.”