Overhyped and hyper-developed, the tourism industry in Sharm el Sheikh has gradually wreaked havoc on local ecosystems and done little to educate visitors about the region's Bedouin heritage.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Has gone downhill over the last ten years. The Ras Mohammed Marine Protectorate has been grossly over-visited, and this has negatively impacted marine flora and fauna. On land, the area has become overdeveloped. The local people have not benefitted from tourism. Future outlook is grim."
"Has become a prime tourist destination at the cost of traditional cultural values. Local people may earn money from tourism, but they have had to change their traditional way of life in order to do so. Though outward expansion continues, a lack of fresh water may become a limiting factor."
"The quality of the built environment suggests an absolute lack of architecture and design regulations. Development is limited to the beach/reef area. There is a sharp contrast between the coastal fringe and the desert behind. Coral reefs are over-visited."
"Once spectacular. Now paved over. There is no sense of place. The model of development is not sustainable and does not benefit locals."
"Great diving spot but overexploited."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.