Europe, America, or perhaps The Pacific - all familiar and popular travel destinations that are probably on your list of places to head to. But this year, there's a newcomer that has surged up to number one on the top countries to travel to in 2019.
Sri Lanka has been named the number one country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet in their annual Best in Travel awards. The main draw cards for the south-Asian island are wildlife and scenery while also being close to incredible beaches.
“Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book.
Since 2009, tourism has increased by over 400 per cent. Sri Lanka has invested heavily in transport opening up scenic routes and providing easier access to previously closed off and dangerous parts of the country.
As a result, high-end luxury resorts have come knocking: Shangri-La, Movenpick, Sheraton and the Grand Hyatt have all set up shop while boutique retreats have also surfaced.
In the past, Sri Lanka's backdrop has been the main attraction but pumping surf has made the subcontinental country a suitable location for avid surfers.
Following Sri Lanka in second place is Germany, in line with the centenary of Bauhaus next year while Zimbabwe comes in third after stability began to return to the country's government.
Hot cities to travel to include: Copenhagen, Shenzhen in China and Nova Sad in Serbia.
Each year Lonely Planet publishes a list of top 10 countries, cities and regions to visit in the year ahead. Staff, editors and contributors are all part of the ranking process.