TRAVEL PICTURES: Best & Worst Destinations Rated, 2009

Best and Worst of the 2009 Traveler Places Rated Scorecard
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First Place: The Fjord Region, Norway

October 21, 2009--Still waters in Norang Fjord, shown in an undated picture, reflect the "well-preserved Norwegian rural life" that helped the region take top honors in the sixth annual "Destinations Rated" scorecard compiled by the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations.

The center convened an independent panel of 437 experts in fields from historic preservation and sustainable tourism to travel writing and archaeology to assess 133 iconic places around the world.

The panel based its decisions on six criteria: environmental and ecological quality, social and cultural integrity, condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites, aesthetic appeal, quality of tourism management, and outlook for the future. (Read more about the survey method.) The results appear in the November/December 2009 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

In an assessment that would make Slartibartfast (of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame) swell with pride, one anonymous panelist called Norway's fjords "about as good as can be done." Another panelist commented that "the short tourist season, rugged terrain, limited population, and inherent sensitivity of the locals to the environment bode well for the fjord region."

(Both National Geographic News and Traveler are part of the National Geographic Society.)
— Photograph by Andrew H. Brown, National Geographic Stock
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