It is official! The Amazon region in Peru is now one of the New 7 Wonders of nature, as voted for, by you, online. With the Inauguration having taken place on August 13th, 2012, in our home town of Iquitos, over 80,000 people took to the streets the day before to mark and celebrate this much deserved honor. A 20km-long procession consisting of an array of colorful floats paraded down the main streets of the town entertaining the crowds and elevating already heightened spirits. Participants in the parade included representatives from the indigenous Amazon rainforest communities that are frequently visited by Aqua Expeditions.
Taking a slightly more formal approach, the official Inauguration on Monday saw traditional ceremonies accompany the unveiling of the plaque at the Plaza 28 de Julio. Both regional leaders were present as well as Bernard Weber, the Founder-President of New7Wonders (the foundation responsible for the award), and Jean Paul de la Fuente, Director of New7Wonders.
Speaking to journalists in Iquitos, Bernard Weber said “It was great to see the passion of thousands of people who voted for the Amazon. What we saw today was a prime example of our belief that participation is the basis for development”.
These sentiments were echoed by Ivan Vasquez, President of the Loreto region who highlighted the benefits he hopes will flow from sustainable development now that the Amazon has been listed. “Ours is a commitment to safeguard this ecosystem for the world. As the owners of this space, we are committed to productive conservation.” Ivan believes the combination of productive conservation and sustainable development is key to reducing poverty in the region.
We couldn’t agree more! Last year 250,000 people visited the region and Aqua Expeditions hopes to contribute to reaching the new goal of doubling that figure in the next two years.