Dead Sea one of the wonders of nature

Israel’s Cabinet has allocated more than $2.5 million to promote the candidacy of the Dead Sea as one of the new seven wonders of nature.

The Dead Sea is one of 28 sites to have reached the finals of the New7Wonders of Nature competition. Other candidates include the Grand Canyon, the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. It is a joint Israel-Jordan-Palestinian Authority candidate, and was chosen by Internet voting for the finals from an initial pool of 420 sites.

Approximately 1 billion people are expected to vote by the Nov. 11, 2011 deadline. It is estimated that 300 million to 400 million votes will be needed for the Dead Sea to be chosen.

The Cabinet is allocating the funds and establishing a steering committee to promote the candidacy.

The selection of the Dead Sea as one of the New7Wonders of Nature could lead to a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Israel in general and the Dead Sea in particular, according to the Ministry of Tourism. This in turn would lead to increased job opportunities for residents of the Negev, higher income from tourism and the economic development of the area. — jta