For the sixth year in a row, New Zealand has been ranked in the top five best destinations in the world by readers of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller magazine.
The awards were announced last night in the UK. New Zealand was placed second after Italy as 'Best Destination'. Turkey was third and Australia was fourth.
Italy scored well on the quality of its food and restaurants, culture and climate Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton (pictured) said it was a great result for New Zealand given that British travellers had been hard hit by the economic downturn and were looking to holiday closer to home. " The UK is probably one of the toughest markets in the world to get noticed in. Travellers have access to the lowest airfares in the world, which means they have a huge amount of choice. For UK holidaymakers to recognise New Zealand as their favourite long-haul country is a huge achievement in this competitive marketplace and one which the New Zealand industry should be most proud of."
Air New Zealand took second-place in the long-haul airlines category and Queenstown's Blanket Bay took first place in the 'Best Leisure Hotel - Australasia' category.
In the year to July 2009 New Zealand welcomed 260,000 UK visitors, down 10 per cent on the previous 12 months.