With verdant, mist-bound mountains and excellent surfing beaches, this teardrop-shaped island has been nicknamed "China's Hawaii." Its burgeoning hospitality industry has brought economic growth and environmental challenges. "Locals may benefit" from tourism, but "outsiders benefit more."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
“Has become an overdeveloped coastal city.”
"Developing quickly into a retirement and winter resort for Europeans, Russians, and the growing Chinese middle class. A result, the area is under considerable pressure. Developers with money easily circumvent regulations. In Yalong Bay, locals are being denied entry to the beaches. Reminds me of the situation in Phuket in the 1980s."
"Hainan is suffering from overdevelopment. Survival of gibbons and Eld's deer seems unlikely even in the medium term. "
“Unregulated development, especially in Sanya. There needs to be greater sensitivity to ethnic minorities and farmers.”
"Emerging conflicts between farmers and developers. The island is adopting a speculative development model geared towards attracting the urban rich."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.