The chances are good it can, according a survey of experts in
"sustainable tourism and destination stewardship" to rank islands
around the world by National Geographic Traveler. But there is uncertainty about whether St. John will retain its charm.
"Best in the Caribbean," said survey participants who evaluated St. John. (Not all members of the panel reviewed each island.)
"The national park has saved this virgin from being tired like St.
Thomas," they continued. "There’s almost no trash along the roads, you
can hike for a couple of miles without coming across structures, and
there are fabulous bays reachable only on foot (or boat); snorkeling is
But other comments about St. John warned, "One-third of the island is not park and is under siege with
over-scaled villas. Cruz Bay is losing its ramshackle charm to newer buildings containing shopping malls and real estate developers. Traffic is congested."
Included among the people who offered opinions about St. John and other islands were Rafe Boulon, the Park’s chief of environmental resources, and Randy Brown, the V.I. Environmental Resource Station’s administrator. Boulon told the St. John Source he was asked to participate in the survey by e-mail.
The magazine ranked 111 islands and archipelagos and ranked them
according to the danger they face from "tourism overkill." Denmark’s Faroe Islands
were rated at the top of the list with a score of 87, which the
magazine said means they are "Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to
remain so." St. John scored a 70, indicating "minor difficulties."
St. Thomas had a score of 37 and was at the absolute bottom
of the list. Comments: "A mess—too many cruise ships disgorging their
passengers into the small town. Totally spoiled and low-quality,
high-volume destination. The main town is essentially one big, ugly
jewelry store, but the island is nice outside of the main town."
The Traveler article can be read at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/features/islandsrated0711/islands.html