Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021 celebrates the people and places shaping the future of travel
Ireland’s Burren EcoTourism Network and Australia lead the way in regenerative travel.
Global travel authority Lonely Planet has today unveiled a radical reimagining of its much-awaited Best in Travel picks for 2021, reflecting how the world and attitudes to travel have changed. For 2021, Lonely Planet is looking ahead to the future of travel, recognising not only places, but also people and communities who are transforming the travel industry. The list celebrates commitments to community, diversity and sustainability across the world with projects in Ireland and Australia amongst the most inspiring innovators.
“Travel in 2021 and beyond will be a much more considerate exercise than it has been ever before,” Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera said. “With travellers cautiously re-engaging with the world and focusing on ensuring their impact is safe and positive for host communities, we have decided to highlight destinations and individuals that truly enable visitors to make genuine contributions through regenerative travel.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021 list has selected 30 inspirational people, destinations and tourism projects that shine a light on pioneering sustainable practices, regenerate local communities and promote representation in all aspects of travel.
Highlights from Best In Travel 2021 include:
Burren EcoTourism Network – an impressive community collaboration of over 60 local enterprises which has transformed Ireland’s Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism. Joining together to promote slow tourism, local engagement and a greater responsibility for a more sustainable future for all in the area. All enterprises subscribe to the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark ‘Code of Sustainable Practice’. This is an online platform that measures waste output, water consumption and energy usage and encourages each business to make reductions in these areas. The Code of Practice is the only one of its kind in Ireland.
Welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate the Burren Ecotourism Network on being named a ‘Best Community Tourism Project’ in Lonely Planet’s prestigious Best in Travel 2021. It is a well-deserved accolade, recognising all of their hard work to become a global leader for sustainable tourism. I would also like to thank Lonely Planet for the wonderful support they have shown the island of Ireland over the years. In what has been a devastating year for travel and tourism, this accolade is really good news and will surely inspire travellers everywhere to put the Burren, Co Clare and the island of Ireland on their holiday wish-list – when the time is right.”
Australia – A year on from the devastating bush fires, the country has been recognised for the amazing community restoration work, including the coordinated effort from The Nature Conservancy Australia, to help the rainforests, sapphire coasts and endemic wildlife rise from the ashes.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said “There is no doubt that this has been the most challenging year our industry has faced, having to first deal with the impacts of last summer’s bushfires followed directly by a shutdown of travel due to COVID-19.
“But in response to these challenges, we really have seen the best examples of the Australian spirit shining through particularly as people across the country rallied behind those communities both directly and indirectly impacted by the bushfires, with so many extending offers of support.
“That spirit of resilience has really endured as recovery efforts have continued, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is heartening that this has been recognised as part of these awards.”
Travel is always changing. Best in Travel 2021 champions people who make travel a force for good, all the more essential in a year when COVID-19 has disrupted and deprioritized travel, having a devastating impact on local communities. Rather than delivering a destination bucket list, Lonely Planet has focused on how people travel now: outdoors; in family groups; purposefully; with careful attention to the communities they will explore.
“We are taking the chance to re-emphasise what we are here for and why: our mission remains to be a trusted travel companion. One that inspires, informs, and guides, while being in sync with travel wants and needs,” said Cabrera.
Lonely Planet celebrates projects ranging from restoration of the Australian bush, to conservation in Rwanda, revitalization of Medellín in Columbia and the introduction of progressive solutions in Gothenburg. From community projects in Ireland, to cultural diversity in San Diego and storytellers providing fresh perspectives, Best in Travel 2021 highlights how tourism can regenerate more responsibly once we emerge from the pandemic. The full Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 List is:
Best in Sustainability