Call it a late wedding present. Last year’s royal knot-tying between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has delivered a much-needed boost to Brexit-addled London.
The city has been named the best destination in the world in TripAdvisor’s annual Traveler’s Choice Awards, largely thanks to 2018’s regal celebrations.
London knocked protest-hit Paris off the top travel slot in the ranking determined by reviews and ratings over the past 12 months for hotels, restaurants and experiences.
TripAdvisor says the outcome is down to the spotlight of the royal wedding.
“The global fascination with Harry and Meghan clearly has a powerful effect as this is the first time since 2016 that London has topped the world rankings,” TripAdvisor spokeswoman Hayley Coleman said in a statement.
“With the couple’s new Royal baby due imminently, London may continue to reap the rewards of the Harry and Meghan effect into 2020,” she added.
There was also a “significant rise” in bookings for royal-focused experiences, TripAdvisor revealed, particularly for tours to see the Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Such attractions saw a year-on-year increase of between 94% and 231%, the website said.
Laura Citron, CEO of Visit London — the capital’s official visitor guide — said the ranking were a “true validation of the incredible hard work of our tourism industry, ensuring our visitors have exceptional experiences every single day of the year.”
Paris took second place in TripAdvisor’s best-rated travel destinations, with Rome coming in third, followed by Crete, Bali and Phuket.
Meanwhile, 2019 was the first year New York — which has been a long-time favorite with travelers — slipped out of TripAdvisor’s top 10 to rank as the 13th best-rated destination in the world.
Desiree Fish, TripAdvisor’s Vice President of Global Communications, said the Travelers’ Choice Awards “recognize major cities and islands that continue to deliver an outstanding experience and are beloved by our global community of travelers.”
Here are the top 25 destinations in the world, according to the 2019 Travelers Choice Awards:
1. London, United Kingdom
2. Paris, France
3. Rome, Italy
4. Crete, Greece
5. Bali, Indonesia
6. Phuket, Thailand
7. Barcelona, Spain
8. Istanbul, Turkey
9. Marrakech, Morocco
10. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
11. Prague, Czech Republic
12. Siem Reap, Cambodia
13. New York City, New York
15. Hanoi, Vietnam
16. Tokyo, Japan
17. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
18. Lisbon, Portugal
19. Kathmandu, Nepal
20. Jaipur, India
21. Hurghada, Egypt
22. Hong Kong, China
23. Cusco, Peru
24. Sydney, Australia
25. Tel Aviv, Israel