This probably is going to come as a surprise to you, but this question is bitterly, bitterly argued, internationally. As in: constantly.
Let’s take a historical step to when the term was defined. Although long-distance tourism was rarer 3000 years ago, and probably tended to have religious goals (shrines, temples, etc.), there were still tourist guidebooks. Travellers made up lists of what they thought the “greatest”. Eventually various authors came up with a list: Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Artemis, Statue of Zeus, Mausoleum at Halicarnasus, Collosus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria. Only one still exists.
Now. The controversy lies in that these are TOURIST destinations. Oh-ho! So if I build a really cool treehouse in my backyard, I might call it the 7th Wonder of the Modern World, just to get people to come. You see there might be a problem, here?
There was a New7Wonders of the World initiative, but like the original, it wasn’t about fact, but how a majority of people felt. Read … a majority. That means that there are all kinds of annoyed people out there who feel their country’s best should have been included, etc.
And, in some sense, it’s just a dumb marketing department campaign. (If I was to name one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments, it would be the Saturn V moon rocket, not some pile of stone in Egypt that happened to be very big, if you see what I mean.)
There are some very angry people, because this means serious tourist revenue. Also, apparently, some countries paid millions of dollars to get their favorite named! CHEAT! Naturalists are so annoyed they’ve gone so far as to create their own list New7Wonders of Nature.
I looked at the modern list of man-made wonders, and I wouldn’t bother spending a day travelling to look at a couple of them. One in particular I think is awful. But the natural wonders … I want to see several! And several of the 28 finalists, too:
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