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Nations vie to be among '7 Wonders'

An Easter Island statue

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: You've probably heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Chances are you've never seen one of them, though. The only ones still standing are the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt.

There's a worldwide competition going on right now to pick seven new Wonders of the World. And for many countries — particularly those in Latin America — it's not just national pride that's at stake.

From the America's Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.


Dan Grech: Organizers call it the first global vote in history: 60 million votes and counting. People can pick from a list of 20 contenders by e-mail, text or telephone.

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The competition closes in two weeks, on 7/7 of 07.

Tia Viering, spokeswoman for the New 7 Wonders Foundation, says the front runners are:

Tia Viering: The Taj Majal, the Great Wall of China, the Easter Island Statues, the Coliseum in Rome and Petra in Jordan, the rose red city in the desert. A new one in the top 10 this current ranking was the statue of Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

That sudden jump wasn't by accident. Brazil's president urged people to vote for Christ the Redeemer in his weekly radio address.

The presidents of Peru and Chile are plugging sites in their countries. In Mexico, cans of Coca-Cola promote the Mayan site of ChichA©n ItzA¡.

Jonathan Tourtellot is director of sustainable tourism for the National Geographic Society. He says these Latin American countries covet the Seven Wonders recognition — and the tourist dollars it would bring.

Jonathan Tourtellot: For a developing country, this could make a big difference.

But he says increased exposure is a two-edged sword, as big crowds can overwhelm a site.

The U.S. also has a candidate in the mix: The Statue of Liberty. But so far, she hasn't even broken into the top 10.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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