BULAWAYO – Lonely Planet, one of the world’s largest travel guide book publishers, has placed Zimbabwe THIRD in its 2019 top best travel destinations.

The 2019 travel guide book contains the best travel destinations, trends, journeys and experiences to have in the year ahead.

The top 10 countries in the world to visit were identified and ranked in order.

Sri Lanka was named the number one spot to visit in 2019 as it opens up to new travellers like never before.

According to Lonely Planet, visitors to Sri Lanka can expect “endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food.”

Germany was ranked in second place in the Lonely Planet ‘Best in Travel 2019’ book.

The European country offers “soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns,” said Lonely Planet.

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Zimbabwe, one of only two African countries in the top 10, was ranked the third best travel destination for next year.

The landlocked country is famous for its national parks where visitors can spot the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo).

It’s also home to World Heritage-listed archaeological sites and Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world.

In fourth place was Panama in Central America. It has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean making it perfect for beach life as well as watersports.

Kyrgyzstan came in fifth place. The Central Asian country is found along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean.

According to Lonely Planet, it is “a nation defined by its natural beauty. Joyously unspoilt mountainscapes, stark craggy ridges and rolling jailoos (summer pastures) are brought to life by semi-nomadic, yurt-dwelling shepherds.”

Jordan came in sixth place followed by Indonesia in seventh place and Belarus in eighth place.

São Tomé and Príncipe – an African island nation – took ninth place while number 10 went to Belize in Central America.

“These are the places to experience in 2019,” said Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s Editorial Director.

“They might be coming into their own, celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event or simply have been overlooked for too long – whatever the reason, now is the time to plan a trip.”

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of editors, researchers, locals and influencers, and are then decided upon and ranked by a panel of judges.

The outcome is an eclectic list of destinations with unique, compelling and topical reasons to visit in the year ahead – as well as underlying travel trends to look for.

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2019

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Germany
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Panama
  5. Kyrgyzstan
  6. Jordan
  7. Indonesia
  8. Belarus
  9. São Tomé and Príncipe
  10. Belize