Jeju Island has been voted as one of the new seven wonders of nature by people across the world. The scenic island was chosen along with the Amazon Rainforest and River (in Brazil and several other countries), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Iguazu Falls (Argentina and Brazil), the Komodo National Park (Indonesia), the Puerto Princesa Underground River (the Philippines) and Table Mountain (South Africa).
The list of the seven natural wonders was announced Saturday by the New7Wonders Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Zurich. It launched a global poll to select the seven locations in July 2009, which ended Friday. In 2007, the foundation selected the seven man-made wonders of the world in a worldwide poll, where more than 100 million votes were cast.
The selection of Jeju Island as one of the seven wonders of nature is noteworthy as it means global recognition of the island as one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations. Jeju is rich in natural assets ― it was the only place among the 28 final candidates for the New7Wonders that met all of the seven selection criteria : island, volcano, waterfall, beach, national park, cave and forest.
The beauty and value of the island’s natural assets have been well recognized by UNESCO. The U.N. agency designated it as a “biosphere reserve” in 2002, added it to the list of World Natural Heritage Sites in 2007, and awarded it the “geopark” status last year. Jeju is the only place on the planet to receive all three UNESCO honors.
The latest honor bestowed on the island gives Korea a golden opportunity to develop it into a truly global tourist destination while preserving it as a part of mankind’s natural heritage. The new title will enhance overseas tourists’ awareness of the amazingly beautiful island, helping it open a new chapter for its tourism industry.
According to the Jeju Development Institute, a local think tank, the annual number of foreign tourists visiting the island is expected to increase by a maximum 73.6 percent, boosting its tourism revenue by up to 1.2 trillion won.
The benefits would not be limited to the island. The entire nation will likely benefit from Jeju becoming one of the seven natural wonders as its image as a tourist spot will be upgraded.
Korea has long sought to develop Jeju Island into a tourism hub and ultimately a “free international city.” In 2006, the central government gave it extensive administrative power by making it the nation’s first and only autonomous province. Now the nation should make concerted efforts to attain the vision for the island.
 nonprofit organization : 비영리 기관< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
 global recognition : 국제적 인식
 criteria : 표준, 기준
 natural assets : 자연 유산
 designate : 지정하다, 지명하다
 bestow : 수여하다, 부옇다
 enhance : 향상시키다
 revenue : 수익
 hub : 중심지, 중추
 extensive : 대규모의
 autonomous province : 자치지역