About my website
selection criteria and more
Click blue links below
for my answers:
did you create Hillman Wonders?
is your background & credentials?
established is hillmanwonders.com?
did you start ranking the wonders?
wrong with anyone-can-vote polls?
do you rank the wonders?
you have strict voting guidelines?
your Top 100 & Top 1000 lists selective?
do you expect people to disagree?
is my favorite attraction missing?
do you keep updating the lists?
your website ever be finished?
did you create
I created my 2,000-page website to inspire you to see as much of
our wonderful world as you can in your lifetime.
What is your
background and credentials?
Click to view:
About me and my credentials
read and trusted
began my wonder list in 1968 and launched my website in 1996.
website is viewe'd by over a million visitors from 217 countries (statistics are
documented by Google Analytics and Google Urchin).
Wonders list s the world's most comprehensive, best-researched
travel wonder listing. It now embraces the world's top 1000 wonders.
2,000-page website has been widely
praised for its content, professionalism and editorial integrity.
Hillman Wonders is
newsworthy. It is covered by the press around the globe. Stories about it have
appeared in, for instance, USA Today, Aftonbladet (Scandinavia's largest
newspaper), O Estado de Sao Paulo (a leading Brazilian newspaper), and on wire
services (including AP).
start ranking the
wonders of the world?
I made my first list when I was a child
and dreamed of seeing the wonders of the world.
My list changed
a personal to a consensus list after I showed it to some seasoned travelers I
had met in Machu Picchu in 1968. They had a great time comparing their personal
choices with my top 100 list - and said that it inspired them to want to travel
encouraged me to enrich my list by researching a consensus of knowledgeable
travelers who could give unbiased, global-scoped opinions for the benefit of
I would never do that
There would be no way to
meaningfully determine the qualifications and impartiality of a online voter. Consider:
who participate in mass anyone-can-vote travel polls have not traveled
sufficiently to make an informed global judgment. They tend to be regionally
biased, which means that the countries with the most voters are going to have an
unfair advantage. They also tend to be text-messaging teenagers with limited
can skew the results by submitting
mass votes under assumed names. It happens.
governmental agencies wage "stuff the ballot box" campaigns to urge citizens to
vote for local choices.
I am committed to
giving you rankings and ratings you can trust. See my Voting
Guidelines section later on this page for some of my criteria for being a
How do you
rank the wonders?
not a one-person's opinion
Though I make the final decisions,
I am influenced by the
consensus of my International Board of Advisors (IBA).
IBA is composed of
numerous globetrotters who have proven to me that they have extensively traveled
and can make sound, impartial, world-view judgments on travel wonders.
Its members are of all races, sexes, age groups and walks of life. They
live in nations around the world. Collectively, they have been virtually
everywhere and have logged billions of travel miles.
My decisions also
take into account the opinions of thousands of globetrotters I met and polled
during my journeys over the past several decades.
ratings and rankings are also
influenced by travelers who email insightful comments to me (and who kindly
point out my typos, misstatements and other embarrassing errors).
Do you have
strict voting guidelines?
very strict ones
Even a researched consensus is meaningless without
common voting criteria. That's why I created these guidelines for my voters:
You (or any organization you are affiliated with) may not have a vested
interest in promoting a specific travel destination. This means, for instance,
you can vote if you are a general travel agent but not if you work for a
government tourist board.
With some 200 countries in the world, you are bound to disagree with the
policies of some governments. Express your political views elsewhere, not here.
This is not (nor should it be) a political forum. Hillman Wonders must remain
free of politics (and other spins).
a global perspective
No doubt it's difficult for some people to avoid regional and nationalistic
voting biases. I pray every voter will think in a global perspective.
with the tourist
By their very nature, most travel
wonders attract tourists. Adventure travelers should not react to this fact with
a knee-jerk reaction. Whether we admit it or not, all of us are tourists at some
points in our journeys. Voting against a travel wonder simply because it's a
tourist magnet smacks of snootiness. On the other side of the travel coin, those
who vote for a wonder simply because it is world famous destroy the spirit of
the Hillman Wonders of the World rankings.
The visitors to Hillman Wonders are neither
unsophisticated tourists nor snobbish destination name droppers. Rather, they
are intelligent and educated world travelers, an adventurous lot of all ages and
backgrounds, from all corners of the globe.
is not an issue
Give full consideration to a travel wonder even if,
say, monetary, religious, or governmental restrictions prevent you from
personally visiting it. For instance, just because only Muslims may visit Mecca
should not preclude non-Muslims from considering Mecca for a medal.
not let unrelated
bias your vote
Try not to let
unfortunate isolated experiences that happened to you cloud your judgment. Let's
suppose you had a marriage-ending argument with your
spouse in Bali. I would understand why you might not want to return, given
your remembrances. Please, however, base your choice on whether Bali is a
must-see destination for sophisticated travelers collectively.
How selective are
your Top 100 and
Top 1000 rankings?
Our vast world has
100,000 legitimate travel attractions. Just 1% (1000) win a Hillman Wonders
medal. The top 100 win my gold medal. The next 100 win my silver medal. The next
800 win my bronze medal.
Why do you
people to disagree
with some of your
natural to disagree
against your opinion coinciding exactly with a compilation of this size (100
gold, 100 silver and 800 bronze medal wonders) are a billion to one.
Remember, a consensus
is a collective rather than an individual opinion. Each person experiences
wonders differently. Ask any two travelers their opinion and you get three
opinion, I respect it. I do not wish to change your views. Rather, I want to
give you the opportunity to have fun comparing your personal opinion with a
reliable, well-researched consensus.
Why is my
bound to happen
There is hardly a travel attraction on
our planet that isn't someone's favorite. And, with over 100,000 travel
attractions on earth, there are going to be a lot of pet choices that don't even
make my Top 1000 list.
It's not that the missing favorites are unworthy but that
— in the judgment of the researched consensus — there are wonders that are even
more compelling on a global perspective. As widely traveled people know, the
competition is vast and keen.
One of the essential
criteria for ranking a travel wonder is how it compares with other wonders in
Niagara Falls is a good example of what occurs when people are
unaware of similar wonders.
It's understandable for individuals who have visited
Niagara Falls but have not seen Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls to think that
Niagara Falls should rank near the top of the top 100 list. Although
Niagara Falls is indeed a worthy gold medal winner, Iguazu Falls and Victoria
Falls are significantly grander and mightier than Niagara Falls, to the point
that they make Niagara Falls seem a bit pale in comparison. Consequently, from a
global perspective, Niagara Falls ranks in the bottom half of the gold medal
A travel wonder's ranking
for a number
of reasons, including:
A travel wonder can change physically relatively quickly, as did the Floating
Market in Bangkok. Urban sprawl reduced its size and appeal. It didn't take long
for the consensus to move it from the Gold to the Bronze Medal list. Sometimes a
wonder is destroyed, as was the case with the Buddha statues in Bamyia,
Afghanistan. Sometimes a site physically remains the same but falls in the
rankings. For example, when a building loses its "world's tallest" title.
A movie, book, news story, or social networking can quickly increase the public's awareness of a
wonder on a global scale.
Today's travelers are taking more distant and adventurous trips — and reading
more travel-related articles and watching more TV travel documentaries. This
gives travelers broader outlooks.
will never be finished
I will forever be adding new
features and improving existing ones to better serve you. Hillman Wonders will
eventually have over 2,000 insightful web pages.
Plans are underway for a pictorial travel book and a TV documentary
series on the wonders. And, my website will be translated into a dozen other
languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese,
Russian and Spanish.
Top 100 Wonders
Top 1000 Wonders