The Surprising Australian Island on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2020’ List

Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

New South Wales’ Lord Howe Island  has made fifth position on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions for 2020 and is in the company of some surprising destinations such as Le Marche in Italy, Maine in the USA and the Guizhou Province in China

World-leading travel publisher and authority Lonely Planet has released its Best in Travel 2020 guidebook this morning, revealing its picks of the world’s hottest destinations and journeys for the year ahead.

The 2020 edition places particular emphasis on sustainable travel experiences, so it’s no wonder untouched, world heritage-listed Lord Howe Island has ranked in fifth position in the Top 10 Regions for 2020, according to Lonely Planet spokesperson Chris Zeiher.

“Lord Howe Island is Australia’s shining example of sustainably managed tourism. Its 400 person visitor cap and its encouragement of travellers to volunteer on ecological projects during their stay add to the uniqueness of the experience. Lord Howe Island is a picture-perfect blend of brilliant outdoor experiences and delicious indulgence. You can go from snorkelling the world’s southernmost coral reef to pampering yourself in a day-spa to gorging on a sumptuous seafood dinner all in the same day,” he told Luxury Travel.

The island, located 600km off the New South Wales coastline, is also home to renowned luxury property Capella Lodge.

Lord Howe Island is in the company of some surprising destinations on the Top 10 Regions for 2020 list, such as Le Marche in Italy, Maine in the USA and the Guizhou Province in China.

“At Lonely Planet, our Best in Travel lists have always been focused on setting the travel agenda for the year to come,” Zeiher said. “Whether it’s highlighting destinations celebrating specific anniversaries, those conducting one-off events in that particular year, or places that may have been previously overlooked but have developed an exciting new offering for travellers.”


Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions 2020

1. Central Asian Silk Road
2. Le Marche, Italy
3. Tōhoku, Japan
4. Maine, USA
5. Lord Howe Island, Australia
6. Guizhou Province, China
7. Cadiz Province, Spain
8. Northeast Argentina
9. Kvarner Gulf, Croatia
10. Brazilian Amazon


When asked about the surprising, lesser-travelled destinations that have made the Best in Travel 2020 book, Zeiher stated that this year’s heavy emphasis on destinations that are excelling in sustainable tourism initiatives has been a big contributing factor to the results, with many of the destinations on the Top 10 regions list offering something unique or new for the curious traveller.

“The Central Asian Silk Road has recently had the ‘Joanna Lumley travel documentary treatment’ and for good reason,” he told Luxury Travel. “Countries that feature on this route, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, now offer visa-free access for a majority of the world’s citizens.

“Additionally, Tohoku, Japan made the list due to its concerted recovery efforts post the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. With all eyes being trained on Japan in 2020 for the Summer Olympics, it’s fantastic to showcase this lesser-known region which offers a slower more traditional travel experience.”

Australia is represented on a number of the book’s other top lists for 2020, including the Great Southern train journey in Best New Openings; Mount Mulligan Lodge, Queensland in Best New Places to Stay; Di Stasio Città, Melbourne in Best New Food Experiences; and Tasmania in Best Sustainable Trips for Families.

The annual guidebook’s destinations are chosen based on initial nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers and publishing partners. The nominations are then whittled down by a panel of independent travel experts, who shortlist in line with criteria such its topicality, unique experiences and ‘wow’ factor.


The Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2020

  1. Bhutan
  2. England
  3. North Macedonia
  4. Aruba
  5. eSwatini
  6. Costa Rica
  7. The Netherlands
  8. Liberia
  9. Morocco
  10. Uruguay


The Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2020

  1. Salzburg, Austria
  2. Washington, DC, USA
  3. Cairo, Egypt
  4. Galway, Ireland
  5. Bonn, Germany
  6. La Paz, Bolivia
  7. Kochi, India
  8. Vancouver, Canada
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Denver, USA

Lonely Planet’s online destination Best in Travel 2020 features tips and videos on visiting each destination, as well as a chance to win a Silk Road adventure for two. 


See Part One of our three-part series of where to travel in 2019, below:

Where to Travel in 2019 – Part One
With global tourism reaching saturation point, new and largely undiscovered destinations are becoming harder to find. Here, we present Part One of our three-part Destination NEXT Series showcasing our top 30 exciting, surprising and rapidly trending places. Far from the madding tourist crowds, these hot spots offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences to thrill even the most well-travelled globe trotters.

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