Tripadvisor's annual Travellers' Choice Awards have a different look after a year of curtailed plans. However, travel disruption has not affected New Zealand's popularity.
Using global data it is privy to as the world's largest travel platform, Tripadvisor has predicted emerging holiday hotspots that users will have on their travel wish list for the year ahead. Even if the ability to visit these destinations is in question.
In spite of pandemic disruption affecting the survey period (running from December 2019 to November 2020) there has been continued desire for travel.
New Zealand destinations feature prominently in the trending list and a new category introduced for the 2021 awards: National Parks.
One of the biggest findings of the survey was that travellers were twice as likely to plan an outdoor escape since the beginning of the pandemic. Travellers are appreciating uncrowded spaces more than ever, which has led to the creation of the new category honouring the world's "scenic and historically significant parks".
Southland's Fiordland National Park made the top 10, with Tripadvisor attributing this to the enduring popularity of Milford Sound. Judges advised "passionate nature lovers book in advance to hike the 33-mile Milford Track"
130 years on, the website felt Kipling's words still ring true, calling it the "eighth wonder of the world".
Queenstown also made the top 10 in Trending Destinations, with its "staggering beauty and heart-pumping thrills" earning it 6th place.
The escapism of the Lakes area, associated with popular fantasy films had kept the location gaining in interest online, "even during a topsy-turvy year."
However, on the other side of Otago, Dunedin also earned a place in the world travel awards.
The Edinburgh of the South appeared at number 25 on the Emerging list, which rewards "under-the-radar destinations".
Looking at positive reviews and presence on travellers' wishlists, the city has shown one of the greatest year-over-year increases in interest on the website.
Praising the historic campus and opportunities for nature lovers to spot "rare yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals and the world's only mainland albatross colony", Tripadvisor predicts big things for Dunedin.
This year the awards were reduced to just four categories.
The 2021 top spot went to Bali, Indonesia for the World's Most Popular Destination; Cabos San Lucas in Mexico was the top Trending Destination and the Caribbean island of Martinique topped the Emerging Destination lists. The Serengeti, northern Tanzania was the first top National Park.
Travellers' Choice: World's Most Popular, 2021
Travellers' Choice: South Pacific most popular, 2021
2. Queenstown, New Zealand
3. Auckland, New Zealand
5. Gold Coast, Australia
6. Port Douglas, Australia
7. Bora-Bora, French Polynesia
8. Christchurch, New Zealand
9. Hobart, Australia
10. Cairns, Australia