Kathmandu now has the distinction of being the most unpleasant of all 94 World Heritage Sites. A recent survey by National Geographic Traveller of sites as varied as the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, the Pyramids of Giza and the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, gave Kathmandu Valley the lowest score, with just 39 points out of 100.
Some 420 experts from a variety of fields such as ecology, sustainable tourism, geography, travel writing, and indigenous cultures studied the World Heritage destinations. Convened by National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations, this international panel rated each place on the basis of stewardship and overall outlook and criteria including environment, historic preservation, cultural impact, aesthetics, tourism management, and plans for the future.
Norway's West Fjords topped the list with 87 points, and Mexico's Guanajuato, Salzburg, Austria, Siena, Italy, and Kyoto, Japan were ranked as 'destinations doing well'. South Africa's Cape Floral Region, historic Prague, Czech Republic, and Australia's famed Great Barrier Reef were named the 'so-so destinations'. Stonehenge, England, China's Great Wall, Machu Picchu, Peru, Greece's Acropolis, and Egypt's pyramids are all having serious problems.