Just as Bermuda was featured in the New York Times last week, the island has received accolades from yet another venerable publication—this time from National Geographic Traveler, which rated 99 Coastal Destinations in its November/December issue. To the magazine’s credit each watery destination was thoroughly reviewed. A panel of 340 experts in “sustainable tourism and destination stewardship” rated this “geographically and culturally representative sample of the world’s waterside locales,” writes Jonathan B. Tourtellot, Traveler’s geotourism editor who devised the destination stewardship survey in 2003. That means experts in a variety of fields including historic preservation, ecology, indigenous cultures and more weighed in on six criteria: Environmental and ecological quality; aesthetic appeal; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; quality of tourism management; and outlook for the future.
So how did Bermuda stand up to the pack? With an overall score of 72 out of a possible 84, the island is officially “Doing Well” and panelists generally had a positive impression. Here’s what some of them had to say:
"One of the best managed small islands. Good public transport and strong zoning keep tourism under control."
"Bermuda is an endless pink suburb. Pastel building with white roofs that catch rainwater. All is manicured; most open spaces are golf courses or parks. Tourism is tightly controlled, though there are perhaps too many cruise-ship visits."
"History and nature both have their place on this long-settled island."
"Has an excellent bus-and-boat public transportation system. A number of visitors use it, and the tourist board would be wise to promote this to visitors even more. Government has limited most households to one car; no rental cars are available. So traffic in and out of Hamilton isn't as bad as it could be. The downside is the high number of mopeds. While fun, they are also noisy and polluting."
Fair and balanced comments across the board, especially that bit about our public transportation system, which I believe is among the best in the world. On an island known for its ritzy glam and pricey hotel rooms it’s nice to know you can get pretty much anywhere for around three bucks. Plus I’ll gladly wait at a bus stop that has unending views of the Atlantic.
Doing well? I think Bermuda is doing just fine indeed.