ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi archipelago of Bu Tinah last night missed out on being named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
The remote area was one of 28 locations on a shortlist that included the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Halong Bay in Vietnam. It also faced stiff competition from the Galapagos Islands.
Voting on a website closed at 3pm yesterday and provisional winners were named at 7.07pm GMT.
The winners based on a first count of votes were the Amazon Rainforest, Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina, Jeju Island in South Korea, Indonesia's Komodo National Park, Table Mountain in South Africa, Halong Bay, and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines.
The disappointing result for the Bu Tinah promoters followed an intense publicity campaign and support from the ruling families.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President, publicly cast his vote for the island on Monday and called on citizens to do the same.
Bu Tinah is one of the UAE's natural treasures. It is home to 1,250 dugong and is surrounded by pristine coral reefs and seagrass beds. It was the only Gulf site competing.
The remote area had already made it through a number of knockout rounds in the contest, which started with a list of 440 candidates.
Bu Tinah, a core area of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, differed from many of its competitors in being off-limits to visitors.
The New Seven Wonders of Nature competition is a Switzerland-based popularity poll of nature attractions worldwide. The campaign was considered vital in promoting awareness of the area.