Belfast and the Causeway Coast has been named the number one region in the world to visit during 2018 by the world’s largest travel guide publisher.
The Lonely Planet award puts the “must-see” city and stunning coastline ahead of Alaska and Slovenia’s Julian Alps on the prestigious list.
As well as the worldwide publicity boost for local tourism generated through media coverage, news of Belfast’s “buzzing bars” and the Causeway’s “timeless beauty” has been shared with Lonely Planet’s six million Twitter followers.
The transformation of the region, particularly Belfast, has been proclaimed as producing “hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes”.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 praises the Causeway Coast, “whose timeless beauty and high-grade distractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks – are more popular now than ever.”
James Smart, Lonely Planet’s destination editor for Britain and Ireland, said; “Belfast and the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top ten 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, its streets packed with buzzing bars and great stories, while the coastline beyond boasts spectacular scenery and plenty of great diversions. The region may be famous for Game of Thrones but its many scenic filming locations are just the start.”
Mr Smart added; “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. New galleries and theatres, rehoused historic attractions and thoroughly modern opportunities for adventure combine with classic sights to make the UK a brilliant destination for visitors in 2018.”
Chile was named best country to visit during 2018, while Estonia’s capital Tallinn was named best value destination.