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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 01:53 GMT
NI is tipped as top travel spot
Laganside in Belfast
Belfast is listed as a 'city on the rise'
Northern Ireland has been tipped by a top travel guide as one of the "must-see" countries to visit in 2007.

The Lonely Planet Bluelist featured NI in the "Go List" section of its guide - a chapter dedicated to detailing the hot destinations for the coming year.

In another section of the book, Belfast was listed as one of the top 10 "cities on the rise".

Lonely Planet co-founder Maureen Wheeler, who grew up in Belfast, was full of praise for her homeland.

"I love the city, its grittiness, its resilience and its beauty and I love how Belfast people turn every social interaction into an excuse for a party," she said.

"The landscape of Northern Ireland is astonishingly beautiful, the people are warm and genuine, and yet it is still relatively undiscovered which makes it the perfect destination."

The guide said the country is "abuzz with life: the cities are pulsating, the economy is thriving and the people, the lifeblood that courses through the country, are in good spirits".

Antrim Coast Road (from causewaycoastandglens.com)
The Antrim Coast Road is a favourite with visitors
Another destination with a wartorn history - Beirut - is among the 30 destinations on the Go List with Northern Ireland. Others include Gabon and Xinjiang in China.

Northern Ireland has seen an upsurge in tourist visitors in recent years and the new guide listing can only add to the numbers.

Alan Clarke, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, was thrilled with the accolade.

"Northern Ireland has firmly established itself as a must see destination and its unique selling points are captivating visitors from home and abroad," he said.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I moved backthis year and was completely amazed with the differences that happened while I was gone
Nikki, Belfast

"The endorsement by the highly acclaimed Lonely Planet travel guide is a further boost to the tourism industry in Northern Ireland and we can only look forward with optimism to another successful year in 2007," he added.

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet's travel information manager, said the Bluelist 2007 was "all about seeing travel in a new light and exploring what makes the destinations you visit so special.

"It's for people who are passionate about travelling and seeing the world, and who want to have unique experiences."


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Why Northern Ireland is a 'must-see' holiday destination



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