Widespread publicity over the past couple of months about coral bleaching hasn’t prevented the world’s largest coral reef system and Australia’s greatest natural wonder gaining number-one rank in US News & World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit list for 2016-17.
Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is a favourite with travellers, leading all world destinations. Paris came second and French Polynesia’s Bora Bora was third.
The rankings are based on expert opinion, user votes and current trends.
Commenting on the finding, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) chief executive, Leanne Coddington, said the Reef’s status as number one was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.
“The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland,” Coddington said.
“It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day.”
Ms Coddington said tourism to the Reef contributed almost AUD 5.2 billion to the nation’s economy.
“The Great Barrier Reef welcomes more than 1.9 million visitors each year,” Coddington said.
“It’s ours to protect and share, and this latest result reaffirms just how important the Reef is to Queensland’s tourism economy.
“Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth.”
In an issued statement, TEQ described News & World Report as “a leading provider of service news and information, with a signature Best of series of consumer guides across a range of different categories”.
For more information on the World’s Best Places to Visit rankings, view U.S. News & World Report’s website.
Edited by Peter Needham