Singapore has been named the top country to travel to next year in a new ranking released by Lonely Planet on Tuesday, with the travel guide arguing a host of events taking place in the country in 2015 propelled it to the top of the list.
To be considered as a top destination for travellers, Lonely Planet assesses its candidates each year against specific measures. A country may have had a fresh development in its tourism sector, or have a renowned event that will attract people from all sides of the globe.
Singapore's position was chosen based on all the new attractions and events that will take place during 2015, to mark the country's Golden Jubilee of Independence.
Editorial Director Tom Hall said Singapore has become "the ultimate stopover city in Asia", helped by its award-winning Changi airport which provides free city tours for its passengers. Singapore has also produced an array of new attractions, including the opening of the National Art Gallery and hosting 2015's Southeast Asian Games, to coincide with its 50th year of Independence.
Ireland was ranked fifth for travel in 2015, beating St. Lucia's glistening tropics (ranked 9th) and Serbia's iconic architecture (ranked 7th). Lonely Planet stated that "Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions – music, dance, whiskey and beer – firmly intact and the cosmopolitan, contemporary Irish are just as friendly and welcoming as their forebears were known to be."
Hall added that all destinations selected for each year are based around the events that occur "around the calendar year". Nicaragua was chosen as "an alternative to Costa Rica" for 2015 for its impressive wildlife and rainforest tourism.
Other countries featured in the top ten include the Republic of Congo, which will host the 2015 All-Africa Games, and Lithuania, which has been described by the company as "rebellious, quirky and vibrant."
Previous winners who nailed the top spot include Brazil in 2014, for hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside its beautiful and picturesque landscapes; and Sri Lanka in 2013, for its commendable rejuvenation after the 2004 Asian Tsunami, with its diverse culture and great value for money.
International travel continues to grow, with around 517 million tourists travelling in the first six months of this year compared to the 494 million in the same period in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization's latest figures.
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