Indonesia lashed out at the organizers of the New Seven Wonders of the World competition and withdrew Komodo National Park from the running.
Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said on Monday the decision to withdraw Komodo was taken “because the organizer of the New7Wonders Foundation has taken actions that are not professional, consistent or transparent.”
The ministry had been leading the charge to have Komodo crowned as one of the world’s new seven wonders of nature.
In 2009, the park was selected as one of 28 finalists from a total of 440 nominations from 220 countries.
Indonesia’s relationship with the organizers, however, quickly soured.
In 2010, Indonesia was chosen to host the announcement ceremony for the competition’s winner. But the agreement fell apart when the government claimed the organizing committee asked for a $10 million license fee, as well as $35 million to hold the award ceremony. The government claimed that the committee threatened to dump Komodo as a finalist for refusing to pay the fee.
However earlier this year, Eamonn Fitzgerald, the foundation’s head of communications, said the agreement with Indonesia to host the event was made “with the ministry fully aware of the investment requirements.”
Emmy Hafild, the chairwoman for P2Komodo, a community campaign to raise votes for Komodo, told the Jakarta Globe that the government did not have the authority to pull Komodo out of the competition because since February, the government was no longer the park’s official supporter in the New7Wonders campaign.
“The Culture and Tourism Ministry can’t end Komodo’s participation in the New7Wonders competition because Komodo has been voted on by the world. The government’s decision is very confusing,” she said.
She added that government support was not necessary for Komodo to win the competition, as long as the Indonesian people supported the park.
As of Monday night, the New7Wonders Web site still listed Komodo as one of the finalists.
Additional reporting from Antara.