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India voted favourite travel destination

world Updated: Sep 05, 2007 16:41 IST
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'Incredible' toto by readers of Conde Nast Traveller, a major travel magazine, during its 10th annual awards that honour the most popular destinations at home and around the world.

The 2007 Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards honour the best in the world: hotels, airlines, islands, tour operators, spas, cruise lines, cities, countries. In the UK, London has been voted the best city for its restaurants, nightlife and entertainment.

India scored above 89 in all ten criteria, with its best features being culture (scoring 97.17 out of 100), value for money (94.78) and variety of attractions (96.30). The country's popularity ensures a spot in The World's Top 100 list too where it sits at number 4.

Last year's favourite country, Italy, is still hugely popular, voted as having the best food and climate in the world.

Said Sarah Miller, editor of Conde Nast Traveller: "I'm delighted that India scored so well in our Readers' Travel Awards. To achieve the accolade of our discerning readers' favourite country in the world is fantastic.

"As it celebrates 60 years of independence - a real achievement - it shows India's moment has come. The world's largest democracy is living up to the dreams of 1947."

The top five destination countries are: India, Italy, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand scored highly for scenery and Italy has the best food and climate in the world while Thailand was singled out for its friendliness.

The Maldives was once again the readers' No. 1 island while Sydney was adjudged the favourite overseas city.

Overall, in the UK, Durham was singled out as the favourite city for its user-friendliness, value for money and being the cleanest city.

The awards, based on votes by over 30,000 readers, included London, which was voted the best city in the UK for its restaurants, nightlife and entertainment. However, the capital was marked down on cleanliness, value for money and safety.

The criticism of London was rejected by local tourism officials, but Miller defended the results. She said London also scored strongly for its aesthetics and culture but less so for the friendliness of its residents.

"London did exceptionally well in all the areas you would expect, but I think the criticisms were all fair. It is an exceptionally expensive city - that's what you always hear from visitors - and when you see dirty Tubes and rubbish blowing around Oxford Street it doesn't give a good impression," she added.

Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, which boasts a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, was voted the best hotel in the country, with Chewton Glen spa hotel in Hampshire a close second.

London's top hotel was the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park - currently offering two-night packages for £20,000, including a portrait session with photographer Mary McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul McCartney.

In the business hotels category, seven of the best British hotels were in London, led by the Berkeley. EasyJet was named the best low cost airline and British Airways won the short-haul leisure travel category.