Ceremonies marking the Official Inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature begin on Sunday in Cape Town and continue on Monday in Pretoria. Guests will include local dignitaries, representatives from New7Wonders and delegates from the other New7Wonders of Nature sites.
“The Official Inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature marks the culmination of an inspiring campaign that all South Africans can be proud of,” said Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders. “I look forward to congratulating the stakeholders in person in Cape Town on Sunday and in Pretoria on Monday.”
“Table Mountain is a natural feature of our landscape, a symbol of nature’s permanence and the majesty and beauty of our environment,” said Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille. “Table Mountain’s inauguration as one of the New7Wonders of Nature is a worthy recognition of this symbol that we all own and cherish. This title will also bring tremendous direct economic and socio-economic benefits to our city and our country.”
On Sunday morning, 2 December, Mayor de Lille will preside over the unveiling of a specially-commissioned bronze plaque at the foot of Table Mountain listing the site as one of the Official New7Wonders of Nature. In the evening, 120,000 Capetonians are expected to celebrate Table Mountain’s new status during a float procession through the city. A second plaque will be unveiled in Pretoria on Monday, 3 December, at Muckleneuk, the headquarters of South African National Parks.
Paddy Gordon, manager of Table Mountain for SA National Parks said ecological principles played a vital role in the successful campaign. “As custodians of the park, we understand the relationship between its visitors and the natural environment and manage the park so that we can present all visitors with an ecological system that is a benchmark for the globe.”
Sabine Lehmann, chairperson of the Table Mountain Official Supporters Committee, said South African tourism has received a welcome boost with the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway recording a significant rise in visitor numbers since the Mountain was elected as one of the New7Wonders of Nature in on 11 November last year.
She noted that local and international tourists were adding the New7Wonders of Nature sites to their “bucket lists” and this had resulted in remarkable increases in visitor numbers. “Komodo has seen an increase in visitor numbers from 20,000 to 50,000 per year,” Lehmann said. “While Jeju Island has witnessed an 86 percent increase in tourism from China, with 52 percent of visitors interviewed saying they knew about the New7Wonders of Nature status and of those 75 percent said it was the reason they had come to Jeju.”
She believes that South Africa stands to benefit greatly because Table Mountain is located in an urban setting. “Cities are constantly trying to find ways to differentiate themselves and ensure they are top of mind when travellers make plans, and Cape Town is the only city that has a New7Wonder of Nature in its midst,” Lehmann said.
Lehmann added that South Africa would also benefit from “The Power of 7″, which is unique to being part of the New7Wonders of Nature family. “As part of this exclusive group, South Africa will be talked about across the globe as sites promote themselves and the rest of the New7Wonders of Nature,” she said.
In alphabetical order, the New7Wonders of Nature are: Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Table Mountain.