Australia has been recognised in global travel authority Lonely Planet’s much-loved annual Best In Travel Awards announced today, receiving the ‘Community Restoration’ award.

Reflecting the ways in which the world and attitudes to travel have been changed, Lonely Planet has created new award categories for 2021, including ‘Community’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Diversity’, to recognise not just the places but also the people and communities that are transforming the industry.

Australia secured the ‘Community Restoration’ award in recognition of its recovery efforts at both a local and national level to rebuild communities and preserve Australia’s unique wildlife following the 2019/20 summer bushfires.   

Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said that the award was a reflection of the significant efforts made by Australians to help drive the recovery of communities and the tourism sector more broadly following the bushfires.

“There is no doubt that this has been the most challenging year our industry has faced, having to first deal with the impacts of last summer’s bushfires followed directly by a shutdown of travel due to COVID-19,” Ms Harrison said.

“But in response to these challenges, we really have seen the best examples of the Australian spirit shining through particularly as people across the country rallied behind those communities both directly and indirectly impacted by the bushfires, with so many extending offers of support.

“That spirit of resilience has really endured as recovery efforts have continued, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is heartening that this has been recognised as part of these awards.”

Australia is one of 30 destinations, inspirational individuals and tourism projects selected by Lonely Planet to shine a light on pioneering sustainable practices, efforts by local communities towards restoration and the importance of diverse representation in all aspects of travel.

“Travel in 2021 and beyond will be a much more considerate exercise than it has been ever before,” Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera said.

“With travellers cautiously re-engaging with the world and focusing on ensuring their impact is safe and positive for host communities, we have decided to highlight destinations and individuals that truly enable visitors to make genuine contributions through regenerative travel.”

Lonely Planet hopes the Best in Travel 2021 awards will champion those who make travel a force for good at a time when COVID-19 has disrupted and devastated the industry worldwide, affecting so many in the industry. Rather than delivering a destination bucket list, Lonely Planet has focused on how people travel now: outdoors, in family groups, purposefully, with careful attention to the communities they will explore. 

“We are taking the chance to re-emphasise what we are here for and why our mission remains to be a trusted travel companion. One that inspires, informs, and guides, while being in sync with travel wants and needs,” said Cabrera.

Lonely Planet started the process for the 2021 Best in Travel list by seeking nominations from their vast community of staff, writers, photographers, videographers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, they paused the process but observed the conservation surrounding travel take a decisive shift. As a result, Lonely Planet crafted this new approach to the awards, tailored for the world of travel in 2021.

In addition, Lonely Planet is inviting readers to add nominations for their favourite people and places that are shaping the future of travel this year and beyond. Voting is open from today on the Best in Travel website and Lonely Planet will announce the Reader’s Choice Awards winners in January 2021.

For more information on the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 list, including images and videos of the winners visit

For further information contact:

Erin Forster 
Media & Communications Manager
M: +61 426 878 181

Lauren Caverley
M: +61 432 011 726

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