Weak pound makes UK a ‘value destination’ for foreign tourists says Lonely Planet | Travel

The UK is among the world’s “best-value destinations” to visit in 2018, according to travel guide publisher Lonely Planet, which has released its annual Best in Travel hotlist.

Chosen by its editors, authors and a network of travel experts around the world, the list highlights the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best-value destinations for travellers to visit in the year ahead.

Pointing to the fact that the pound has weakened against “pretty much all currencies” since the Brexit referendum, the UK has now been ranked seventh on the best-value list, along with Poland and La Paz, Bolivia. The number one spot in this category goes to Tallinn, capital of Estonia – a long-time budget city break favourite.

Topping the list of the best regions to visit in 2018 is Belfast and the Causeway Coast, which was praised for its “remarkable” regeneration over the past two decades. It beat destinations including Alaska and the Julian Alps in Slovenia, two regions with renowned natural landscapes that were ranked second and third respectively.

James Smart, Lonely Planet’s destination editor for Britain and Ireland, said: “While the value of the pound hasn’t been great news for British travellers, it has been a great boost for people looking to visit the UK, and we expect this to continue next year.”

He added: “Belfast and the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top 10 regions because it is deservedly now recognised as a must-visit destination by travellers from across the globe. Dynamic Belfast has put its troubled past behind it and is a city transformed. The region may be famous for Game of Thrones but its many scenic filming locations are just the start.”

The new and the old … Seoul’s skyline. Photograph: Getty Images

Chile, which marks 200 years of independence next year, was named the best country in the world to visit in 2018, with new direct flights from London and Melbourne making it easier to reach for tourists. Chile was followed by South Korea, which continues to see rapid development, from the recent opening of Souello 17, a High Line-style park in Seoul, with cafes, bars and libraries, to hosting the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Portugal was placed third on the best country list, a reflection of its flourishing tourism industry and the fact it is increasingly seen as a cultural destination, with a batch of new museums.

Seville, Spain, currently in the midst of an “artistic renaissance” came top in the list of the cities to visit in 2018. It was described as having transformed itself over the last decade from a “traffic-congested metropolis resting on its historical laurels … into a city of bicycles and trams, keen to reinvigorate its artistic past”. It was followed by Detroit, another city undergoing a renewal, and also Canberra, which has seen the emergence of new boutique and foodie spots.

Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018

Top 10 countries

The Paine Massif, Chile

The Paine river and snow-capped Paine Massif, Chile. Photograph: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet
  1. Chile
  2. South Korea
  3. Portugal
  4. Djibouti
  5. New Zealand
  6. Malta
  7. Georgia
  8. Mauritius
  9. China
  10. South Africa

Top 10 regions

The Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Stuart Stevenson/Getty Images
  1. Belfast and the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
  2. Alaska, US
  3. Julian Alps, Slovenia
  4. Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  5. Kii peninsula, Japan
  6. Aeolian Islands, Italy
  7. Southern US
  8. Lahaul and Spiti, India
  9. Bahia, Brazil
  10. Los Haitises national park, Dominican Republic

Top 10 cities

The Plaza de Espana in Seville

The colonnaded Plaza de España in Seville. Photograph: Shutterstock
  1. Seville, Spain
  2. Detroit, US
  3. Canberra, Australia
  4. Hamburg, Germany
  5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  6. Antwerp, Belgium
  7. Matera, Italy
  8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  9. Guanajuato, Mexico
  10. Oslo, Norway

Top 10 best value

Tallinn’s fairytale old town. The city has been named the world’s best value destination for 2018.

Tallinn old town. Photograph: Sean Pavone/Getty Images
  1. Tallinn, Estonia
  2. Lanzarote, Canary Islands
  3. Arizona, US
  4. La Paz, Bolivia
  5. Poland
  6. Essaouira, Morrocco
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Baja California, Mexico
  9. Jacksonville, Florida, US
  10. Hunan, China

To read the full list with destination guides visit lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

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