Queeenstown has been named one of the top 10 must-visit places in 2012 by Lonely Planet.
The influential travel giant labels the resort the “world’s top adventure playground” in its latest guide book.
Tourism bosses say the “priceless” accolade should provide a welcome boost in international visitor numbers.
The guide – Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2012 – the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences – is out today.
An excerpt reads: “There isn’t a bad time to turn up in the world’s top adventure playground.
“There are nonstop outdoor activities year-round in the resorts of Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau, as well as the surrounding mountains, lakes and national parks.
“Where else can you ski in the morning and golf or water ski in the afternoon? Add excellent wineries and superb restaurants, and what more is there to say?”
Queenstown and the Southern Lakes – which includes Lake Wanaka and Fiordland – is placed eighth in the list of Top 10 Regions.
The top three destinations are Coastal Wales, followed by La Ruta Maya, Central America, and Northern Kenya.
Arunachal Pradesh in India, Borneo and Sicily also make the list.
Tony Everitt, Destination Queenstown CEO, says: “To receive this kind of endorsement by Lonely Planet is priceless for Queenstown and the Southern Lakes, as well as New Zealand.
“Lonely Planet is a giant of the travel industry so making it into its Top 10 must-visit region for 2012 will give our region global recognition and provide inspiration for its readers to visit.”
Best In Travel draws recommendations from hundreds of ideas submitted by Lonely Planet staff, authors, travellers, bloggers and tweeters.
Their suggestions are refined by a panel of in-house experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.
Sarah Bennett, Lonely Planet New Zealand, says: “This news is hardly the shock of the century.
“Anyone who lives in or has visited the Queenstown region will back up this accolade.
“Words like breath-taking, jaw-dropping, exhilarating and stunning are grossly overused in the tourism industry but the Southern Lakes region has a right to them all.”