Opening the New7Wonders of Nature Congress in Iguazu, Argentina, yesterday, Bernard Weber, Founder-President New7Wonders, gave the following speech:
Delegations representing the New7Wonders of Nature,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When in Lisbon on 7 July 2007, the man-made “New 7 Wonders of the World” were declared, this ancient Greek concept became once more a reality, and it became clear that there is much more behind this simple idea.
At the turn of the new millennium, when I asked myself what could be a word, a phrase or a concept that everyone on our planet would understand immediately, this ancient Greek 7 Wonders concept emerged as something simply begging to be revived.
And when I merged this idea with the power of the fast-growing modern communications technology — the Internet, mobile telephony and television — to reach people across the planet and create, interactively, the world’s first-ever global consensus, it climaxed with a historic moment and creating “global memory” – 7 things that everyone on our planet share and can remember!
This was something I could not have imagined when I started New7Wonders in 1999.
For me life is about opportunities, recognising them and picking up on them. So this great opportunity of the revival of the 7 Wonders of the World shouted at me so loud that I could not resist and I pushed myself taking up its global challenge.
And in the back of my mind I had this intuition that concepts elaborated in the Internet together with other people could become alive – have a second life, or become reality, so to speak.
Now that we are all gathered together, the representatives and delegates from the New7Wonders of Nature, it has become even more reality as there is nothing more tangible as real people – all of you who are here – gathering to brainstorm ideas and concepts which again are destined to become reality…this is, I believe, how nowadays we change the world!
Today I would like to thank the government of Misiones province, and the official committees of Iguazu Argentina and Brazil, for hosting this first-ever Official New7Wonders of Nature Congress. And I would also like to thank all of you, who shared with me and the New7Wonders team the vision and the idea of this great opportunity. Your energy, with ours, made the New7Wonders of Nature campaign the success it is.
Like our New7Wonders global voting platform, the purpose of this Congress is to give once more, this time to the winners of the New7Wonders of Nature, a platform to exchange information, create stimulus for shared programs, and a chance to network for common goals like tourism, branding, promotion, the environment and education.
It is now clear that one of the biggest rewards of having a New7Wonder of Nature is the impact on tourism in your respective countries. This is creating jobs and bringing people from all over the world together, and represents a great chance to show hospitality and welcome to the rest of the world.
However, it is also a big challenge for many of you. For example, how to manage the increasing influx and flow of visitors in such a way that it does not compromise the natural beauty and natural habitat. In other words, as my partner Jean-Paul de la Fuente likes to say, how to manage success, a “high quality” problem. Let us approach all these challenges with a positive attitude, as this is the best way to have our recommendations implemented.
From our side, to make sure that what we have achieved, and what we are all doing together, is going to be remembered and recognised by future generations, myself and New7Wonders will dedicate the time and resources it needs to promote the transformation of the canon of New7Wonders into “Global Memory” – 7 things that everyone on our planet can and will remember, for the next thousand years or so!
I wish everyone productive sessions, as I hereby officially declare open the first New7Wonders of Nature Congress!