Australian island among Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2020

An idyllic New South Wales getaway has been ranked the world’s fifth best region to visit by travel guide Lonely Planet.

The global publication has released its Best in Travel 2020 list this week, putting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, some 600km off the north coast of NSW, at number five for favoured regions.

Lord Howe is the only Australian location featured in the Best in Travel lists of top regions, countries and cities for 2020. It sits behind the Central Asian Silk Road in top spot, followed by La Marche in Italy at second, Tōhoku in Japan at three and Maine, USA at four.

State minister for tourism Stuart Ayres said the accolade was a “huge coup” for NSW and would boost the island’s profile among international travellers.

“There’s something special about Lord Howe Island and it’s fantastic that Lonely Planet’s spotlight will encourage the rest of the world to discover this beautiful place too,” he said.

“The natural beauty and charming remoteness of the island make Lord Howe a ‘must visit’ destination for all kinds of travellers including luxury seekers and nature lovers.

“These visitors often extend their journey in Sydney before or after their island escape, and many are high yield travellers who contribute significantly to the state’s economy.”

This edition of Best in Travel 2020 focuses on sustainable travel experiences, helping travellers to consider the impact of their holiday and make informed decisions when planning an itinerary.

Lonely Planet recognises Lord Howe as a “shining example” of sustainably managed tourism through its commitment to accommodating only 400 visitors at one time, and encouraging guests to participate in ecological projects.

“Parked in the middle of nowhere… this visually stunning island makes an instant impact on the senses with its jaw-dropping World Heritage-listed beauty,” Lonely Planet writes.

“Two soaring green mountains overlook a perfect lagoon and the world’s southernmost coral reef; perfect crescents of beach and splendid hiking trails…add to brilliant outdoors possibilities.”

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said Lord Howe Island deserved the inclusion.

“Lord Howe Island is just so unique so I’m delighted that this peaceful haven with its breathtaking natural environs has been acknowledged by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s must-visit destinations,” she said.

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