Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is home to idyllic islands and floating villages of fishers who ply the shallow waters for more than 200 species of fish.
The bay has become a popular tourist attraction and was named one of 28 finalists for the New7Wonders of Nature contest, announced on July 21, 2009.
Yet the 600-square-mile (1,553-square-kilometer) bay will get a "lousy score" on the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations 2009 Destination Scorecard
, an annual listing of the world's best preserved tourism spots, Tourtellot said. The 2009 list will be released in October 2009.
"A lot of the problem is in a heavily trafficked tourist area in one section and irresponsible development on the shoreline [that's] really messing it up," Tourtellot said of Halong. "Once you get away from that area, it's really nice."
Photograph by Chitose Suzuki, AP