In its first recognition of a New Zealand city in the annual collection of the world’s best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences, the publication refers to Wellington under the banner of “coolest little capital in the world”.
Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Travel Editor Shawn Low said Best in Travel 2011 draws on the knowledge, passion and kilometres travelled by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and online community. Previously the top 10 countries, regions and cities have been listed alphabetically, but Lonely Planet has revealed them in ranked order for the first time in its sixth edition.
“This book started with hundreds of ideas from everyone at Lonely Planet, including our extended family of travellers, bloggers and tweeters,” Mr Low said. “These ideas were then whittled down by a panel of in-house travel experts, based on scores for topicality, excitement, value for money and that special X-factor.
“In the case of Wellington, Best in Travel 2011 suggests that New Zealand’s most innovative and inspiring city might just be the ‘Best Little Capital in the World’.”
Best in Travel 2011 writer Catherine Le Nevez describes Wellington in the book as “Cool-with-a-capital-C”. The abundance of arts and cultural events, the culinary and film scene, and the city’s attitude to sport are among the things that make the Wellington stand out. Wellingtonians also get a well deserved mention.
“Wellingtonians are modest-as; they just figure if you’re going to do something, why not do it well?,” she writes.
“Its compact size energises its sense of community. Locals love their city…and get a kick out of helping visitors fall in love with it too.”
Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks said sharing a top 10 podium with the likes of New York and edgy destinations such as Tel Aviv is priceless recognition for New Zealand and its capital.
“To have Lonely Planet – a global brand respected for frank opinions and having its finger on the pulse – come out and refer to Wellington as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ and among the top 10 cities you must visit for 2011 is quite simply incredible.”
The announcement comes as the 85,000 international travellers expected to visit New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011 look to plan their visit in more detail. Best in Travel 2011 lists Rugby World Cup in Wellington on its planner of major events around the world for the year.
Coupled with Wellington’s regular placing as New Zealand’s favourite destination in the quarterly Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton Mood of the Traveller poll, the Lonely Planet recognition creates an exciting platform for the city for 2011, Mr Perks says.
Year three of Visa Wellington On a Plate in August and an expanded Montana WOW Awards Show season will lead into RWC 2011 kick off in September. Hundreds of writers will then descend on the city for the Society of American Travel Writers conference in November, as another bumper cruise season settles in for summer.
“Wellington never suffered the hits from the downturn that many other destinations did, but things haven’t been as strong as we’re used to either – especially over winter. 2011 is set to be an exciting year but the job’s not done; it’s only just beginning.”
Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities 2011 are:
1. New York City, USA
2. Tangier, Morocco
3. Tel Aviv, Israel
4. Wellington, New Zealand
5. Valencia, Spain
6. Iquitos, Peru
7. Ghent, Belgium
8. Delhi, India
9. Newcastle, Australia
10. Chiang Mai, Thailand
:: Positively Wellington Tourism is the regional tourism organisation for Wellington. It is a council-controlled organisation primarily funded by Wellington City Council through the Downtown Levy, a targeted rate paid by commercial ratepayers in downtown Wellington. PWT funding does not come from Wellington City Council general rates.
:: The visitor sector contributes $1.4 billion a year to Wellington’s economy, an average of $3.8 million a day. Not bad huh.
:: Visitor spend in Wellington accounts for approximately 10% of Wellington’s regional domestic product.
:: Wellington city has more than 8 million visitor nights per year.