North Wales been named among the Lonely Planet’s Top Ten ‘Best in Travel 2017’ – the only destination in the UK to make the list.
The travel guide publisher hailed the way the former industrial landscape has been reinvented and repurposed to create a series of attractions, from high-speed zip-lining and inland surfing, to underground trampolining in a 176-year-old disused slate mine.
To mark the accolade, the giant dragon that has been touring Welsh castles arrived in London, close to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Wales has enjoyed two record-breaking years with visitor numbers crossing the 10-million mark for the first time in 2014 and record spend from domestic and overseas visitors in 2015.
It aims to sustain this with its raised profile from international events such as Euro 2016, and the success of the 2016 Year of Adventure tourism campaign.
Economy secretary Ken Skates said: “This is such fantastic news for Wales as our Year of Adventure draws to a close.
“Being listed as one of the best in the world by such a well-respected and established publication such as the Lonely Planet is a real coup for north Wales.
“The award will, of course, play a big part in our marketing for 2017 as we move on to celebrate the Year of Legends in Wales.
“North Wales has reinvented itself over recent years and the addition of some cutting-edge, world-class facilities to match the awe-inspiring scenery has given people compelling reasons to visit the area.”
Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s editorial director, added: “We included north Wales in this year’s list of top ten regions because it deserves to be recognised on the global stage.
“It’s a stunning area with a vast array of activities on offer to keep travellers entertained.
“North Wales has also become a haunt of in-the-know foodies. North Wales is a gem and should be on every traveller’s radar.”
• Lonely Planet also named The Skellig Ring drive in County Kerry, Ireland, in its list.
Tourism Ireland said it will “take every opportunity to maximise this accolade for The Skellig Ring and the Wild Atlantic Way”.
A new video, celebrating the news and highlighting the beauty of The Skellig Ring drive, will be shared with more than one million people worldwide.
Other activity to maximise the accolade includes a specially created page on Ireland.com; extensive social activity; and highlighting the news at World Travel Market London next month.
Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017:
Taranaki, New Zealand
The Azores, Portugal
The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
Coastal Georgia, US
The Skellig Ring, Ireland