Lonely Planet – the world’s largest travel guide book publisher — has released its Best in Travel 2018 list, which includes the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations in the world.
There are some surprise entries, but perhaps the biggest shock is Australia’s purpose built capital – Canberra.
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Perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of the Australian capital – Canberra.
Ranking as number three on the top 10 cities for 2018, many were left puzzled by what the city has to offer, with one person writing on Twitter: “I agree with Lonely Planet. Canberra is an incredible place to visit. Nowhere else do you get the joy of finally leaving Canberra”.
The city has also previously been labelled “a great mistake” by former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. But, Lonely Planet describes it as a “criminally overlooked” destination with “national treasures” around almost every corner.
Elsewhere on the list, some may not have expected to see Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the website’s top region to visit.
However, few can deny the draw of the picturesque Irish coastline, while Lonely Planet notes Belfast’s transformation into a city “full of hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes”.
Similarly, Detroit is probably not on most travellers list of cities to visit while in the US, as it recently ranked as the “most violent big city in America” and “worst American city to live in”.
However, the city ranks second in the top 10 cities list largely due to the area’s recent gentrification.
More controversial, is the decision to keep the Puerto Recon capital, San Juan, as number eight on the top 10 cities list, after it was badly affected by Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico has a long road to recovery, with much of the island lacking basic amenities such as water and electricity.
Encouraging tourists to continue to visit and consume their much needed resources could be viewed as insensitive, but Lonely Planet’s editor has defended the decision stating the city “will be back on its feet for travellers in 2018”.
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It is debatable whether or not San Juan and the rest of Puerto Rico will be fully back on its feet in 2018, but considering the importance of tourism for the local economy and desire for many shops and restaurants to re-open, there is good reason to keep the city on the list.
No matter what cities or countries are mentioned, not everyone will agree with the destinations on the list. Surely, there would be complaints if a typical tourist destination such as New York was put in Detroit’s place and similarly Sydney was ranked instead of Canberra.
Besides, Lonely Planet initially became so popular because it was unconventional. Isn’t travel all about discovering new places anyway?