New Zealand dropped from Lonely Planet's top countries list

Posted by On 9:28 PM

New Zealand dropped from Lonely Planet's top countries list

New Zealand dropped from Lonely Planet's top countries list

OPINION: New Zealand's absence from Lonely Planet's latest list of the best countries to visit is surely a sign that, as a tourist destination, we've made it.

Aotearoa came in at number five in the travel guide's 2018 rankings but failed to rate a mention on its lists of the best counties, regions and cities to visit next year.

Apparently being a "place where the planet's pulse pumps close to its charred skin", as New Zealand was described last year, isn't enough to compete with the charms of Sri Lanka, Germany and Zimbabwe which topped the countries list for 2019. Panama came fourth, followed by Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Indonesia, Belarus, Sao Tome and Principe, and Belize.

We know we're good looking and so does everyone else - possibly a reason New Zealand doesn't feature in Lonely Planet's list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2019.
123RFWe know we're good looking and so does everyone else - possibly a reason New Zealand doesn't feature in Lonely Planet's list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2019.

Sri Lanka, Lonely Planet said, is "having its moment in the equatorial sun… Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived."

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Germany, meanwhile, was praised for being a "powerhouse of innovation", bringing the world such modern essentials as the automobile and aspirin and, perhaps less essentially, the Bauhaus aesthetic movement. The latter, I suspect, is the main reason for the country's prominent position on the 2019 list. The movement is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year with a "year-long birthday party" and the opening of new museums in three cities.

These rankings are essentially to highlight up-and-coming destinations. Or as Lonely Planet spokesperson Chris Zeiher put it, places "coming into their own, celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event or simply having been overlooked for too long".

Sri Lanka offers more than ever for families, adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, wellness seekers and foodies, Lonely Planet says.
BROOK SABINSri Lanka offers more than ever for families, adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, wellness seekers and foodies, Lonely Planet says.

Sri Lanka could be said to be coming into its own as a tourist destination, while Zimbabwe, once the darling of the South African safari circuit but now better known for its controversial politics and dismal economy, could do with a boost in visitors.

"[A]s always, a visit here is viewed by locals as a sign of support of them on their journey to a new dawn," the guide says.

Of course it also has national parks home to the Big Five, World Heritage-listed archaeological ruins and Victoria Falls, but they've been there for donkeys years. It' ;s the guide's desire to promote a destination it feels doesn't get the visitor numbers it deserves that lands it a spot in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2019.

New Zealand, by contrast, is an established tourism darling. A record-breaking 3.7 million international visitors visited our shores in the 12 months ended October 2017 and the number is expected to hit 4.5 million by 2022. We don't need the likes of Lonely Planet directing more people to our shores. Or want it.

With its fairytale architecture, Germany is always interesting to visit, but festivities to mark the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement are another reason in 2019.
SEAN GALLUP/GETTYWith its fairytale architecture, Germany is always interesting to visit, but festivities to mark the 100th anniv ersary of the Bauhaus movement are another reason in 2019.

One in five Kiwis feels the country attracts too many tourists, according to a recent Tourism New Zealand survey, with road accidents, traffic congestion, overcrowding and environmental issues among our chief concerns.

We know we're beautiful and in demand and consequently often deride such rankings. Hence comments such as "Why do we bother with these results?", "Are we that insecure…?", "We're a great place. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," on a story on the 2018 lists.

But while we might be brimming with self-confidence (some might say self-satisfaction) these days, we're certainly not adverse to a little overseas praise. Hence why we're still marketing the place as Middle Earth. Featuring in top destination lists does, bit by bit, inflate our collective ego.

Perhaps the time has come to look at these rankings in a less self-centred light; to focus not on our own positioning, but on other countries'. The most interesting travel destinations, in my experience at least, can be classified as such primarily because they are so unlike home.

Once a tourism darling, Zimbabwe has made headlines for the wrong reasons in recent years.
HOUSE OF TRAVELOnce a tourism darling, Zimbabwe has made headlines for the wrong reasons in recent years.

Lonely Planet's top 10 countries for 2019

1. Sri Lanka
2. Germany
3. Zimbabwe
4. Panama
5. Kyrgyzstan
6. Jordan
7. Indonesia
8. Belarus
9. Sao Tome and Príncipe
10. Belize

The top 10 regions

1. Piedmont, Italy
2. The Catskills, USA
3. Northern Peru
4. The Red Centre, Australia
5. Scottish Highlands
6. Russian Far East
7. Gujarat, India
8. Manitoba, Canada
9. Normandy, France
10. Elqui Valley, Chile

The top 10 cities

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Shenzhen, China
3. Novi Sad, Serbia
4. Miami, Florida, USA
5. Kathmandu, Nepal
6. Mexico City, Mexico
7. Dakar, Senegal
8. Seattle, USA
9. Zadar, Croatia
10. Meknes, Morocco

The best value destinations

1. Southern Nile Valley, Egypt
2. Lodz, Poland
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
4. Maldives
5. Houston, USA
6. Argentina
7. Bangladesh
8. Albania
9. Ecuador
10. Slovenia

Stuff

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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