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Lonely Planet: Croatia Top Destination in 2005!
COLUMN #91, 31 January, 2005
Hot Spots: LP Staffers' Top Destinations for 2005

It has become a tradition each December to ask Lonely Planet staffers around the globe to name the top travel destinations for the new year, and then to announce the results of this poll in early January. As usual, we conducted the poll in the middle of December last year, but we have delayed announcing the results of the poll this year out of respect for our cherished friends in the Indian Ocean countries affected by the tsunamis. Of course, critical relief efforts continue in those countries and will continue as the regions recover and rebuild; at the same time, we recognize that travel to those areas is part of the rebuilding process - and we also recognize, as the tsunamis have proven once again, how important tourism is to so many countries throughout the world. It is in this spirit of recognizing travel's enduring importance and allure that we now announce the winners of the 2005 Lonely Planet staff poll.

Six countries emerged as clear favorites this year. As intriguing evidence of the rapidly shifting nature of the travel world, only one of these six countries appeared on last year's list of winners. Here are this year's top picks:

1. Croatia
2. China
3. Argentina
4. United States
5. Italy and Costa Rica (tie)

Croatia soared to the top of this year's poll after a fourth-place finish last year. Croatia's appeal was its unique combination of culture, history, cuisine, accessibility and affordability. As one staffer wrote, "This is Croatia's year. It appeals to a wide range of travellers with its rich diversity of attractions. And it has not yet been over-touristed, but it has developed an excellent tourism infrastructure -- so that it suits both adventurous travellers and those who need a degree of comfort in their planning." Another staffer wrote, "Croatia's combination of easy accessibility (it's within driving distance of a large chunk of Europe), relative affordability (especially compared to the beach countries like Spain and Italy), and high quality will mean that it will be a 'hot' destination again this year." Other staffers lauded its "stunning beaches and islands," "magnificent food" and "wonderfully preserved towns such as Dubrovnik." Congratulations, Croatia!


Link to the complete article on the Lonely Planet website, along with more photographs of the above story:

Lonely Planet: Hot Spots: LP Staffers' Top Destination for 2005



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