LISTEN: Auckland has been named the best city in the world to travel to, even though visiting the city is currently banned.
Lonely Planet has named Tāmaki Makaurau the number one city to visit next year in its Best in Travel 2022 guide.
Auckland Unlimited chief executive Nick Hill said the accolade was a "little bit" unexpected.
"It's ironic that we're locked down and no one can come here, but it's not a surprise because it actually is an amazing city to visit and increasingly the world is understanding that, and for very good reasons," he told Magic Talk.
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2022 points to some of the outstanding events set to take place in Auckland next year, including Rugby World Cup 2021 (postponed from this year) and the excitement of Kiwis coming home - like the return of famous restaurateur and celebrity chef Peter Gordon.
From the guide:
“[New Zealand’s] biggest and most diverse city has always been beautiful, but one unpredicted consequence of COVID-19 has been the blossoming of Auckland’s cultural scene, putting a fresh spotlight on exciting local creativity.”
The book goes on to list their top five Auckland highlights like West Coast beaches, Hauraki Gulf Islands, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Art Gallery and volcanic cone climbs.
Auckland Mayor Goff said with vaccination rates tracking well, and the COVID-19 Protection Framework outlining a pathway to reduced restrictions, Auckland will soon reopen again.
“Lonely Planet’s promotion of Auckland as the best city in the world to travel to in 2022 is a fantastic acknowledgement of what Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer.
"It will give a real boost to Auckland’s tourism and hospitality sectors as they start to recover from the COVID-19 lockdowns and borders reopen," Goff said.
The city previously made an appearance in the prestigious list’s top 10 back in 2014, but this is the first time Auckland has taken out the top spot.
Listen to the full interview with Nick Hill above.
Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am.