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National Geographic's new top-list

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    National Geographic's new top-list

    National Geographic's new top-list

    This is the sixth annual survey of destination stewardship to appear in Traveler. Conducted by the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations, it revisits some of the iconic places we first surveyed in 2003 and rated in April 2004. We also threw in a few new destinations to keep things interesting.

    The condition of any destination is a mix of what local governments, residents, and businesses can control—pollution, cultural quality and authenticity, tourism management—and what they can't, such as natural disasters and global economic meltdowns. After more than five years, how have the scores changed?

    At first glance the survey method may seem less than exact. We contact as many experts in pertinent fields as we can and ask them to rate the places they know. We then average their scores and publish the results. But statistical experience shows that group judgment can be surprisingly accurate—the "wisdom of crowds" effect. In 2003, when we conducted our first survey and had about 200 experts on the survey panel, the top-scoring destination was the Norwegian Fjords area, the lowest Spain's Costa del Sol. This year's 437 panelists, fewer than a hundred of whom participated in our 2004 survey, gave the highest and lowest scores to—trumpets, please—the Norwegian Fjords and the Costa del Sol. The only difference? The fjords rated even higher than before (85 versus 82), while the infamous, hotel-lined "Costa del Concrete" dipped lower (31 versus 41).

    If there is any pattern in scores for the retested destinations, and panelist comments about them, it is this: When people care about the condition of a place, its score tends to go up and stay there. For destinations that gained at least five points—on a survey like this, smaller moves aren't very significant—panelists cited initiatives to protect (Serengeti, up 10; mid-coast California, up 8), to restore (Hue, up 11), to improve facilities (Rajasthan, up 8), or combined efforts (Copán, up 7; Cappadocia, up 8).

    But when people see a place as a tourism cash cow, scores tend to slip (Ha Long Bay, down 5 since 2006; the Inside Passage in Alaska and British Columbia, down 7 in five years; the Grenadines, down a troubling 17 in two years). Panelists docked five of the seven "Bottom Rated" places—and many of those "In Trouble"—for reckless development and commercialization.

    If there is a blessing to the global economic downturn, it is the respite from such rampant, quick-buck degradation of Earth's remaining beautiful places. The break will be only temporary, however, unless the places at risk—and the people who visit them—learn from the places that care. —J.B.T.

    http://traveler.nationalgeographic.c...ted/intro-text
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

    #2
    Congrats to Norway:

    Norway: Fjords Region
    Score: 85

    The Fjords, which topped the charts in our 2004 rankings, get even higher marks this year. "About as good as can be done,"says one panelist. The gorgeous scenery and the "well-preserved Norwegian rural life" are vigorously protected, plus "the local people seem to benefit." Should keep a wary eye on the growing cruise business.

    Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

    "Visiting this region requires a substantial investment by the international tourist, which keeps visitor levels low and allows for a low level of impact. The cruise and expedition ships are highly responsible, acting also as ferries for local people. Local operators and hoteliers are highly dedicated to traditional culture and educating tourists."

    "Environmental quality is at the highest level. Landscape is amazing and aesthetically one of the most beautiful. The icons of Norway are so unique that it is difficult to imagine anything else. The local culture can be seen on the shores and mountains. It gives an ideal overview of well-preserved Norwegian rural life."

    "The short tourist season, rugged terrain, limited population, and inherent sensitivity of the locals to the environment bode well for the fjord region."

    "Unique, memorable experience, especially at the end of spring when the snow is thawing and the waterfalls are all coming out of the clouds!"

    http://traveler.nationalgeographic.c...europe-text/13
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

    Comment


      #3
      Hmmm, interesting..I want to delve into this article further when I get a second....

      Comment


        #4
        Re: National Geographic's new top-list

        Just posting here instead of opening a new thread...

        I received an email from National Geographic announcing the new 2011National Geographic Traveller photo contest.

        Even if you don't feel like entering, take a look. You can view the already-submitted entries. I think it will give all of us some inspiration!!!!!!!!!

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