Pint-sized Gambia offers a short but "powerful" coastline populated by "incredibly friendly and welcoming people." Unfortunately, "overzealous salespeople" and an overabundance of beachside litter are a problem. The hospitality industry's near exclusive focus on package tourism "shuts out the local people."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"A wonderful West African experience is dulled by a plethora of plastic bags and other garbage in Banjul and its environs. The beaches are powerful, but visitors some may find overzealous salespeople an issue."
"Nice beaches and facilities but 'bumster' touts are annoying and can be aggressive."
"Mostly large resorts. However, locals are benefitting more and more from the travel industry. NGOs work with international agencies to promote responsible tourism."
"The current model of package holidays prevents local people from participating in and benefiting from tourism. However, some small tourism operators have banded together to work to achieve more sustainable forms of tourism."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
Browse all the submissions and check back for the winning images.