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Puerto Princesa Underground River

  Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, Philippines is one of the provisional winners of the New 7 Wonders of Nature based on the first count of votes on November 11, 2011.

Puerto Princesa joins six other provisional winners – Amazon (South America), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Jeju Island (South Korea), Komodo (Indonesia), and Table Mountain (South Africa).

Bernard Weber, founder and president of the New 7 Wonders Campaigns announced that it is possible that this list may change once the eventual final confirmed winners are announced early 2012 during the official inauguration ceremonies. The voting stats are now being checked, validated, and independently verified.

This announcement has prompted the local officials of Palawan to hasten the development of the city to accommodate the potential influx of tourists after it was declared one of the provisional winners.

According to Edward Hagedorn, mayor of Puerto Princesa, the number of tourists more than doubled since the river became an official entry to the campaign four years ago. “When we started in 2007, we only had around 160,000 tourists. But last year, we registered around 425,000. That’s really a big jump,” Hagedorn said in a media interview.

Hagedorn added that development is already underway. Hoteliers are now in the process of expanding the city’s capacity to accommodate tourists. Puerto Princesa has a three- year plan and it is expected to meet potential demand for rooms once it is complete.