Cambodia's premier coastal resort "has some serious issues to address in terms of sustainability," including corruption involved in development decisions, poor waste management, and "a low aesthetic of the built environment."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Sewage treatment is nonexistent, and the building code lacks sustainability standards. While a draft-zoning plan designed to protect marine biodiversity and encourage appropriate forms of tourism development was prepared three years ago, it has not been implemented. Short-term profit dominates virtually all activity."
"The coastal region is largely undeveloped due to 40 years of economic and social instability and devastating conflict. This is set to change rapidly. Land speculators have bought up or expropriated large tracts of the coastline, displacing the local population and small-scale tourism development."
"Tourism has given many local people jobs, but there appears to have been little local community engagement in sustainable tourism planning. Political and military elites have secured most prime beachfront land. Tourism development has not incorporated traditional Cambodian architectural styles."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.