The cultural, biological, and geological diversity of this semi-submerged volcano, whose rugged peak rises abruptly from the southwest Indian Ocean, makes it an especially appealing destination. Unfortunately, the tourism industry, characterized by large, all-inclusive resorts, fails to contribute to a sense of place and doesn't economically benefit local residents to the extent that it could.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"The environmental and ecological condition is very good, though invasive alien species are a problem. Outstanding scenery and some excellent beaches. Culturally mixed. Very little pre-colonial architecture remains. Tourism development is variable."
"Some of the urban areas are rather grim, but the mountain rim is fine. The ethnic diversity of the population is interesting. Some heritage sites need care, but the tourism development is not too intrusive."
"Regrettably, much of the tourism development in Mauritius is focused on all-inclusive properties that could be anywhere in the world and have no relation to the local culture."
"The local population is largely excluded from the resort hotels. Petty crime against tourists is a problem."