Pricey hosting keeps dragons out, says Wacik

FACING possible elimination of Komodo National Park from the New7Wonders of Nature nomination (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 1, 2011), Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik claimed the problem arose because Indonesia declined to host the official declaration ceremony.

He said: “When the foundation offered Indonesia to be host, we were interested, but then the requirement was tough. We had to pay US$10 million as soon as we said ‘yes’, and to organise the event we would need to pay another US$35 million.

“It was hard when we weighed the amount of money we needed to host the event even though Komodo might or might not be a winner.”

Meanwhile, New7Wonders said in a media announcement that it contracted with the private sector, not the government.

New7Wonders spokesman Eamonn Fitzgerald said: “The fact remains that there is a legally-binding contract between New7Wonders and a private consortium in Indonesia, and this contract is not being honoured. Unless the contract is honoured or another group takes over the contractual obligations, or the government and private sector decide to work together to resolve this, then New7Wonders cannot operate legally safely in Indonesia, and is forced to withdraw all its activities.”

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