New Zealand

Lonely locked-down Auckland named the number one city to visit in 2022

A reminder to Aucklanders of the treasure trove on their doorstep

It might currently be the most locked-down city in the world but giving Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland something to cheer about, the City of Sails has just been named the number one city to visit in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2022’ poll.

Lonely Planet senior director trade sale and marketing, Chris Zeiher said the accolade is an amazing recognition of Auckland and its surrounding attractions.

“Within the city’s boundaries there are 53 volcanoes, more than 50 islands, three wine regions and numerous beaches that make this a truly exciting and vibrant city, he said.

“There is so much to discover or rediscover in Auckland and this recognition, especially now as people start contemplating travel again, places Auckland as the number one city on the map.

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland previously made an appearance in the prestigious Lonely Planet list’s top 10 back in 2014, however this is the first time Auckland has taken out the top spot. 

While the accolade will boost Auckland’s profile amongst travel-starved global tourists, ironically only locals will be the first to explore the freshly crowned top travel destination as Auckland transitions to the Government’s new COVID-19 Protection Framework once vaccination targets are met across the region.

A proud Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Lonely Planet’s promotion of Auckland as the best city in the world to travel to in 2022 is a fantastic acknowledgement of what Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has to offer.

“It will give a real boost to Auckland’s tourism and hospitality sectors as they start to recover from the COVID-19 lockdowns and borders reopen,” he said.  

“It is also a reminder to Aucklanders and New Zealanders of the treasure trove of places and experiences we have on our doorstep. Seeing Auckland through the eyes of an international traveller is one way to understand how breath-taking, exciting, creative, and full of energy our region is.

“Knowing it is top of the list for travellers around the world, Aucklanders and New Zealanders have the first chance to explore and rediscover everything Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer.”

Mr Goff said COVID-19 and lockdowns had been tough for everyone.

“But now, with vaccination rates tracking well, and the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework outlining a pathway to reduced restrictions, let’s take full advantage of enjoying our region when the opportunity comes,” he said.

“It has been a hard couple of years, but we are hopeful that 2022 will be the year when we welcome visitors from outside our region to share all the wonderful things that we have to offer with uniquely Auckland manaakitanga (blessings).”     

Speaking specifically to Auckland’s offerings in the year ahead, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 fittingly points to some of the outstanding events set to take place in Auckland in 2022, including Rugby World Cup 2021 (postponed from this year), as well as the massive contribution of the region’s Pasifika and Māori cultures to Auckland’s burgeoning creative energy, and the ‘brain gain’ created by Kiwis coming home.

The book, which is on sale now worldwide, is the global travel authority’s 17th annual collection of the world’s hottest destinations and must-have travel experiences for the year ahead, and features their top 10 countries, cities and regions to visit in 2022.

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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