Renowned for picking the best places for travelers to go to each year, Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel media brand, has reinvented its Best in Travel 2021 awards to recognize how our planet has changed.
In a year when COVID-19 has severely impacted travel, Best in Travel 2021 focuses on the incredible people, places and businesses making a transformative contribution to travel in unprecedented times. Sustainability, community and diversity are the areas in which this year’s winners excel. And as the world looks forward to post-COVID travel, they lead the way in exploring our world to everybody’s benefit.
From a walking tour of cities offered by people affected by homelessness, to a Syrian refugee telling the lost history of his country in his new homeland; we’ve whittled through thousands of inspirational stories to celebrate 10 of the best community tourism projects around the world.
The Lonely Planet digital team has worked their way through many worthy nominations in our diversity category to compile a list of winners that include an Instagram account for plus-sized travelers and a community of islanders in North Carolina, direct descendants of enslaved people who are keeping West African traditions alive everyday.
Rwanda’s efforts to bring its wild mountain gorilla population back from the brink of extinction along with its work preventing poaching of endangered black rhinos, has earned the country a Sustainable Best in Travel award. Other winners of this category include a 500-mile-bike trail through Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and blogger Soraya Abdel-Hadi, who runs the popular website soraya.earth.
“Travel is a much more considerate exercise in 2021 than it has been ever before.” Luis Cabrera, Lonely Planet’s CEO says. “With travelers cautiously re-engaging with the world and focused on ensuring their impact is safe and positive for host communities, we have decided to focus on destinations that truly enable visitors to make a genuine contribution.”
Lonely Planet recognizes that to come through these times takes effort and resilience. Best in Travel 2021 rewards the destinations which have braved the coronavirus pandemic and are ready and waiting to welcome us when we can travel again.
This year doesn’t belong to countries or cities, it belongs to the people and businesses who make those places so special, so explore with us and our winners.