To Whom It May Concern,
New7Wonders welcomes the vibrant debate and enthusiastic discussion about the participation of the islands of the Maldives in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign, and considers this a reflection of the democratic discourse that is at the heart of Maldivian society as well as of the global New7Wonders movement.
The presence of the islands of the Maldives in the voted and selected group of 28 finalists is a source of great pride for many Maldivians and fans of the Maldives, and New7Wonders has received many messages confirming this in the past days. Each of the 28 Finalists have qualified from over 440 participants from over 220 countries – more countries than participate for the World Cup and for the Olympics.
In the case of the Maldives, as with any of the finalists involved in the global campaign, New7Wonders can confirm that it remains open to working with any appropriate entity or body that has a dynamic and enthusiastic vision to support the islands of the Maldives.
In news this week that benefits all finalists, the extraordinary positive opportunity provided by participating in the New7Wonders of Nature has been further confirmed by a third independent study from Korea. These studies are not commissioned by New7Wonders, are entirely independent and objective, and reveal the following headline facts:
- Study published by Pearson of London in April 2010: US$ 5 billion overall in economic, tourism and brand image values for the participants and winners in the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World campaign;
- Study published by Grant Thornton of South Africa in April 2011: US$ 1.012 billion each in economic and employment value for the first five years for being successful in the New7Wonders of Nature;
- New study published by JDI of South Korea in May 2011: up to US$ 1.837 billion each per annum in economic benefits for being successful in the New7Wonders of Nature.
Concerning the use of the name “Maldives”, New7Wonders considers any possible action against the use of the name unenforceable and an avoidable waste of public money. It is also a worrying indication for the rest of Maldives society and business that the corporatised MMPRC agency is trying to take ownership and control of the Maldives name that is shared by everyone. However, should this matter be pursued blindly despite its unfounded rationale, then New7Wonders will not hesitate to consider alternative names or designations for the islands of the Maldives ongoing participation in the campaign – perhaps even inviting public opinion to suggest ideas. The beautiful islands and splendid atolls of the Maldives are the true potential natural wonders, even under another name.
To forbid people from voting for the islands of the Maldives, as the MMPRC agency wants to do, is the same as Mubarak when he used to forbid voting for certain parties in Egypt – and as with Egypt it is the people’s choice that must count in the end. New7Wonders defends the right of the committed, positive and enthusiastic voters from the Maldives and the world, who have voted for the islands of the Maldives in the past, and towards those keen to vote for the islands of the Maldives in the future.
The MMPRC agency, which is by statute a money-making corporation, should not waste any more resources and time issuing defensive and self-justifying statements. New7Wonders now urges it to move on and focus its energies on its important mission of delivering the necessary increase in economic value for the Maldives for which the MMPRC agency has been created and for which it will be judged. New7Wonders will continue with its own mission, honouring the will of the worldwide fans, with the islands of the Maldives (if necessary re-named) as an ongoing worthy Finalist in the New7Wonders of Nature. Both these can and will happily coexist without affecting each other.
Eamonn Fitzgerald is the Head of Communication at New7Wonders
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