Since 2003, National Geographic Traveler has surveyed over 200 panelists asking for their top destinations and the results are maybe not as surprising as you might think. After five years of highlighting the best sites, they found that, "When people care about the condition of a place, its score tends to go up and stay there. But when people see a place as a tourism cash cow, scores tend to slip."
To make it to the top of the heap, your location has to be not only beautiful and breathtaking, but also beautifully preserved. Results are partly based on whether the government has any involvement in "pollution, cultural quality and authenticity [and] tourism management." But rankings are also affected by thinks that are out of government control, like natural disasters. As climate change continues to impact areas around the globe, many of these locations may soon find their rankings slip as what originally attracted tourists to the location no longer exists.
So, without further ado, or before these places slip from our eyes, here are the top 25 ranked destinations as reported in this month's National Geographic Traveler magazine. Get 'em while they're hot.
Fujisan (Mount Fuji) Japan. Image via: Dallas and John Heaton for National Geographic.