Sunderbans out of ‘seven wonders’ race

Tourist in Sundarban
With the Sunderbans voted out of the race for the 'New Seven Wonders of Nature', tourism industry insiders say the world's single largest block of mangrove forests may have lost a golden opportunity to become a global destination for wildlife tourism.

Sunderbans, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is the single largest block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest shared by India (West Bengal) and Bangladesh. Nearly 60 per cent of it is with Bangladesh and the rest with India.

It was voted out of the provisional list of the 'New Seven Wonders of Nature' based on the first count of vote results Nov 11. This has led to frustration among the people of West Bengal, including travel agents who say it would have helped the Sunderbans push up its tourist numbers way beyond the current 150,000.

"It's really unfortunate for both Bengal and India. Sunderbans making it to the new seven wonders list would have opened new gates for the influx of foreign tourists in the state," state Forest Minister Hiten Burman said.

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