The National Geographic Society asked me to participate in their 2007 Survey of Island Destinations, rating islands around the world on the basis of their attraction to tourism, sustainability, and more. Says National Geographic,
Tourism is a phenomenon that can cook your food or burn your house down. In other words, we all risk destroying the very places that we love the most.
Nowhere more so than on islands. Islands symbolize vacation. Escape! Their very insularity makes them more attractive than a comparable piece of real estate on the mainland. They are worlds unto themselves—their own traditions, ecosystems, cultures, landscapes. That's what attracts us. But as micro-worlds, islands are also more vulnerable to population pressure, climate change, storm damage, invasive species, and now, tourism overkill.
As a longtime aficionado of islands, this project intrigues me. Fortunately, as a travel author, I was invited to be a panel member. Together we cast our ballots on some or all of 87 islands, and National Geographic tallied up the results and published them. Have a look yourself at :National Geographic, where you can find the individual site ratings, read participant comments, and link to information on the World Heritage Program.
I also participated on the 2006 National Geographic World Heritage Survey in late 2006.
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