Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, October 29, 2013
An annual list of trending travel destinations, unveiled today by Lonely Planet, featured Scotland at number three, behind only the 2014 FIFA World Cup hosts, and the world’s coldest continent.
The country will also be on travellers’ itineraries for sporting reasons, Lonely Planet said, with Glasgow due to host the Commonwealth Games, and Gleneagles the Ryder Cup golf tournament.
The guide encourages prospective visitors to explore Scotland’s scenery, and to "take the high road to Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Cairngorms National Park and fall in love with the landscape that inspired poet Robert Burns". Glasgow has "never looked so good", it adds, while Edinburgh is touted as "the most gothic city outside Transylvania".
Writing for Telegraph Travel in August, Nigel Tisdall urged Glasgow-bound tourists to check out the city's vibrant music scene. "These days the biggest draw in Glasgow isn’t Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or, thankfully, deep-fried Mars Bars," he said. "It’s the musical life – as befits its status as one of only five places around the world to be declared a City of Music by Unesco."
Edinburgh has long been a favourite among readers, who voted it their favourite UK city in our 2012 Travel Awards.
"Next year Scotland will be well-deservedly taking the spotlight on the world stage,” said Tom Hall of Lonely Planet. "The country's buzzing cities and stunning scenery have plenty to offer visitors, combined with an incredible calendar of events and Scotland looks set for a year-long celebration."
VisitScotland, which promotes the country as a tourist destination, welcomed its inclusion in the list.
"It's clear that 2014 is Scotland's chance to shine on the world stage and to have this commendation from Lonely Planet is a fantastic seal of approval,” said Mike Cantlay, chairman of the organisation.
Brazil, the host country for next year's World Cup (June 12 until July 13), took the top spot in the annual list, while Antarctica was named the second most enticing destination.
Other destinations to feature were Sweden, Malawi, Mexico, Seychelles, Belgium, Macedonia and Malaysia.
Lonely Planet also named its top 10 regions to visit in 2014. They included Yorkshire, which will be hosting the opening stage of the Tour de France cycling race. Sikkim, India, was named top, followed by The Kimberley, Australia. Others to feature were Hokuriku, Japan; Texas, USA; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia; Majorca, Spain; New Zealand's West Coast; Hunan, China; and Ha'apai, Tonga.