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 Post subject: World's hotspots : Sri Lanka - 'best value for money'
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 9:02 pm 
India ranks 5th among world's hotspots

[ THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2005 11:59:18 PM ]

NEW DELHI: It's coming of age of India on the world tourist map. Overseas holidayers and travellers from across the globe have put India in the Top Five list of most attractive and satisfying holiday destinations in the world, ahead of several developed and traditional hotspots like US, France, Singapore and South Africa.

According to the latest Conde Nast Readers'Travel Awards survey, East was the flavour of the season among overseas holidayers, with Italy being the only country from the Western world to make it to the Top Five.

New Zealand was voted the favourite holiday destination, followed by Thailand, Australia, Italy and India. The countries were ranked on an index of satisfaction with travel facilities and services — from hotels and spas to airlines and airports.

India scored mainly on account of its hospitality facilities — which included quality spas and hotels — while New Zealand got top marks for scenery, environmental friendliness and safety, ensuring its place at number one. While Italy and France maintained their reputation for excellent food, US'variety of attractions were a big hit among travellers. But holidayers voted Sri Lanka as the 'best value for money'destination.

In the Top 20 order, France was ranked six, US was placed seven, while Switzerland stood 14th. Interestingly, none of the Indian cities even made it to the list of Top 20 cities. New York, Sidney and Rome were voted the top three cities in the world by travellers, for their night life and user-friendliness.

Ananda in the Himalayas, India's only destination spa, was awarded the Best Destination Spa at the Conde Nast Traveller Reader Spa Awards. Ananda was also a close runner-up to overall winner New Zealand in the ultimate award — World's Top 100. In this umbrella category, another Indian hospitality property — The Oberoi Raj Vilas, Jaipur — was placed seventh while India as a product came 45th and Changi (Singapore) was at the last spot.

Industry watchers said India ranked high mainly on account of the growing air connectivity with the rest of the world.

"India has now become far more accessible than it was two years back. The growing air links, government focus on boosting tourism and a surge in the number of quality hospitality properties have helped make a trip to India very satisfying for most holidayers. These strengths seem to have negated the ill-effects of a poor airport infrastructure on the country's image,"said an analyst.

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