09 Sep 2010 New Zealand has won a prestigious travel award from Lonely Planet, the world’s most famous guidebook - in the inaugural ‘Lonely Planet Awards’.
Thousands of British travellers voted online in various categories for the awards - which showcase some of the most fantastic places and experiences around the world.
New Zealand topped the category ‘I’d happily stay forever in …’
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the win proved that New Zealand would always remain a popular choice with holidaymakers."This award is a great achievement for New Zealand as a country and is a wonderful confirmation of what we’ve always believed - that New Zealand is a great holiday destination for international visitors.
"People come here for the scenery, but they leave talking about the warmth and hospitality of our people. I think that combination has helped us win this award from our visitors," he said.
NZ’s British fans
The new Lonely Planet Awards are based entirely around traveller votes from the British public on their top trip experiences.
Lonely Planet travel editor Tom Hall said the categories within the awards covered all the elements that made a trip truly unique "from food and culture to journeys, activities and even who you travel with".
"The results of the Lonely Planet Awards include some surprising winners, such as the Mayan temples at Tikal," Hall said.
"The success of these lesser-known attractions really highlights how worthwhile it is to venture away from some of the world’s best-known places and sights and discover what else the world has to offer."
New Zealand a real winner
Lonely Planet Magazine editor Peter Grunert said the awards were based on readers’ top travel moments.
"Rather than the usual list of favourite hotels, spas and airlines, we want to get under the skin of what inspires people to travel, from their favourite cultural experiences to their greatest wildlife encounters and historical experiences," said Grunert.
New Zealand’s win meant that readers and travellers most wanted to put down roots and settle down forever in the country. Australia was their second choice.
Background: Lonely Planet Awards 2010
More than 3500 people voted in the Lonely Planet Awards 2010, which were created in conjunction with UK adventure specialist Explore.
Other great travel experiences that Lonely Planet readers would like to experience included visiting the Mayan temples in Tikal - which beat out attractions such as the Taj Mahal and the pyramids in Egypt.
Also on the list was eating Italian cuisine, enjoying reggae by the beach on a warm night in Negril, Jamaica, and readers named British television personality Michael Palin as the most desirable travel buddy.
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