World knows our se­cret

South Taranaki Star - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN HAR­VEY

It’s of­fi­cial. Taranaki is one of the best re­gions in the world.

Well, the sec­ond best, ac­cord­ing to Lonely Planet. In the Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 the world-renowned travel au­thor­ity has cho­sen Taranaki as the sec­ond best re­gion in the world to visit, and New Zealand as the sec­ond best fam­ily ad­ven­ture des­ti­na­tion in the world.

South Taranaki mayor Ross Dun­lop said the rank­ing showed the re­gion was on the right track.

‘‘We know Taranaki is a great place, but to have that con­firmed by such a rep­utable or­gan­i­sa­tion is re­ally grat­i­fy­ing. I’m thrilled for our whole prov­ince.’’

It’s a re­mark­able achieve­ment that will would at­tract a lot more peo­ple to Taranaki, he said.

‘‘Peo­ple take note of what Lonely Planet is sug­gest­ing. For some trav­ellers is it is the bi­ble of travel. If they rec­om­mend some­where it car­ries a huge amount of weight. I think it will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on vis­i­tor num­bers. That’s got to be good.’’

Fan­tas­tic was Strat­ford mayor Neil Volzke’s re­ac­tion.

‘‘To be recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally as a great place to visit is re­mark­able and I’m sure we’ll all ben­e­fit from it,’’ said Volzke.

Taranaki is a peo­ple-ori­ented place with a great spirit, he said. ‘‘It’s not over­pow­ered by com­mer­cial­ism and there is still a very nat­u­ral feel about the re­gion, which of­fers a lot of ap­peal for peo­ple.’’

Taranaki Re­gional Coun­cil chair­man David Ma­cLeod said Taranaki should be proud of what it has achieved.

‘‘It’s go­ing to gain huge recog­ni­tion around the world.’’

Taranaki comes in be­hind Cho­que­quirao in Peru, but ahead of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ar­eas such as the Azores in Por­tu­gal, North Wales and South Aus­tralia. The con­tro­ver­sial-for-some Len Lye Cen­tre is named as one of two un­miss­able ex­pe­ri­ences and is la­belled Taranaki’s an­swer to the world fa­mous Guggen­heim in New York. The other big at­trac­tion was the Pouakai Cross­ing, which the guide says is a fresh al­ter­na­tive to the ‘‘over­bur­dened’’ Ton­gariro Cross­ing.

Lonely Planet re­peats the old joke that claims most trav­ellers who reach Taranaki have taken the wrong turn. But says a new motto - a lit­tle bit out there ‘‘off­sets the re­gion’s re­mote lo­ca­tion.’’ The re­gion’s nat­u­ral as­sets have long been en­vied, it says.

ROB TUCKER

Taranaki Re­gional Coun­cil chair­man David Ma­cLeod, left, South Taranaki mayor Ross Dun­lop, Strat­ford mayor Neil Voltzke and New Ply­mouth mayor Neil Holdom cel­e­brate.

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