The economic value of being voted as one of the New7Wonders of Nature has been estimated at $US1 billion over five years for each winner. The projection is based on an independent impact report just released by Grant Thornton, an international organization of chartered accountants and management consultants.
According to Grant Thornton, South Africa could benefit by US$200 million (SA Rand 1.4 billion) a year, equivalent to over US$ 1 billion for the first five years, if Table Mountain is chosen one of the Official New7Wonders of Nature. Tourism to Cape Town would increase by up to 20 percent annually, with 70 percent of the visitors expected to come from overseas. “This would support around 11,000 employment opportunities in South Africa,” the Grant Thornton report said.
Table Mountain is one of 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. The winning seven will be announced on 11 November after an estimated one billion votes — online and via telephone and SMS — have been cast.
Grant Thornton’s projections are based on the campaign to choose the man-made Official New 7 Wonders of the World that culminated in 2007, in which 100 million votes were cast. Its report states that “measurable” results were seen at sites which made the top seven shortlisted in that campaign. “Visitors to Petra in Jordan increased by 61 percent and visitors to Christ the Redeemer in Brazil increased by 30 percent.”
The man-made Official New 7 Wonders of the World have “become part of school curriculums all over the world, and if the same happens to the New7Wonders of Nature, children from every corner of the globe will be learning about Table Mountain and South Africa as a destination.”
The Grant Thornton report was welcomed by Jean-Paul de la Fuente, Director of New7Wonders, who said that its findings confirmed the conclusions of an academic study released last year by the London-based publisher Pearson (publisher of the Financial Times newspaper) in which the worldwide economic contribution made by the campaign to elect the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World was valued at more than US$5 billion.
He also pointed out that the Grant Thornton report refers to purely economic value. “If you add the marketing, advertising, image and branding value, you would easily double the numbers, which means that the New7Wonders of Nature campaign is likely to generate well over US$10 billion in economic and marketing value globally” he said.
“This shows that New7Wonders is an extraordinarily positive force, bringing people together using modern, direct, interactive media, and in the end through this generating real economic plus-value for the world,” Jean-Paul de la Fuente added.