Readers of the The Daily Telegraph have named New Zealand the best country in the world and Air New Zealand one of the best long-haul airlines, in the newspaper's annual travel awards.

More than 75,000 people had their say in deciding the winners of this year's awards, which recognise tour operators, destinations and holidays that exceed guests' expectations.

It's the second year running that New Zealand has won best-country honours, something the Telegraph attributed to its "mix of old-fashioned Englishness, stunning alpine scenery, vibrant Polynesian culture and obsession with extreme sport".

"The Land of the Long White Cloud casts its spell over many people in many places, but seems to exert a special hold over British travellers," the paper said.


"Apart from its sheer physical beauty, New Zealand is also a very compact country, which is fully geared to the needs of time-poor visitors, whether you're enjoying a family campervan trip or staying at a top-notch country lodge."

New Zealand's people — "friendly, relaxed and a little eccentric" — were singled out as being one of the country's biggest assets.

"Passionate travellers themselves, New Zealanders are the world's most natural hosts."

Tourism New Zealand Regional Manager UK and Europe, Danielle Genty-Nott, said the accolade was a "huge honour" for the country and thanked voters of the well-respected awards for their "on-going support of New Zealand".

"It's hugely exciting to know that our beautiful and diverse country is providing inspiration to readers of the Telegraph and that their experiences of New Zealand are ones they treasure."

Air New Zealand, which along with Emirates was named runner-up to Singapore Airlines in the best long-haul airline category, was lauded for its efforts to "narrow the comfort gap between the front of the aircraft and the back".

"The three-seat-wide Skycouch in economy and the Spaceseat, which is designed for couples, in premium economy are real innovations," the paper wrote.

Telegraph Travel Awards 2013
Best country: New Zealand
Runners-up: Maldives and Myanmar (Burma)


Best city: Cape Town, South Africa
Runners-up: Vancouver, Canada and Venice, Italy

Best long-haul airline: Singapore Airlines
Runners-up: Air New Zealand and Emirates

Best short-haul airline: British Airways
Runners-up: Swiss and Icelandair

Best hotel group: Four Seasons
Runners-up: RIU and Jumeirah

Best large cruise line: Cunard
Runners-up: Disney Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises

For the full list of winners, click here.