The influential ‘Best of the World’ list, released today, ranks Manchester as the only city in the UK to be awarded the prestigious accolade, which annually sets out 25 of the must-see places to visit around the globe.
The list focuses on destinations that have community-led conservation efforts, healing and heritage journeys and ways for travelers to give back as well as places that are doing important work in ecotourism, sustainability and inclusive travel.
The accolade recognises Manchester’s post-pandemic revival and comes ahead of a raft of significant cultural attractions due to open in the city in 2023, with editors and travel experts personally nominating the city “as a mecca for soccer fans and a growing arts and culture hub”.
Nathan Lump, National Geographic’s Editor-in-Chief, said: “’Best of the World’ is Nat Geo’s annual love letter to the most incredible places in the world, both near and far, we couldn’t be prouder to shine a light on these 25 extraordinary places that most inspired us this year, and which we know will define travellers’ itineraries for years to come.”
Reasons given for the decision to name Manchester ‘Best of the World’ include; Manchester Museum, due to reopen in February 2023 following a £15m transformation that will add new galleries; Factory International, opening in June 2023 with an ultra-flexible, large-scale performance space set to become home to Manchester International Festival; and the newly-opened Castlefield Viaduct, a National Trust managed former industrial railway bridge now transformed into a skyline urban park.
Manchester joins global destinations including San Francisco, Colombia, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago, which were included in the ‘family’ category of the accolade, recognising destinations offering educational journeys for all generations. The other categories featured in the list include culture, nature, community, and adventure.
Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This international recognition is great news for Manchester. Tourism is really important for our economy and creates and supports thousands of jobs and opportunities.
“We have a long-term vision for a vibrant city with an array of activities, especially for families, and this accolade and others show that is bearing fruit. There is so much to do here – both for residents and visitors. From the recently opened Mayfield Park to the forthcoming Factory International, there’s always something new.
“We’ve been working to broaden the range of high-quality family-friendly facilities and attractions across the city and the fact that we have been recognised in National Geographic’s ‘Family’ category demonstrates the strong progress that is being made.”
National Geographic’s ‘Best of the World 2023’ list:
Trinidad and Tobago
San Francisco, California
Appian Way, Italy
Busan, South Korea
Longmen Grottoes, Henan Province, China
Charleston, South Carolina
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Revillagigedo National Park, Mexico
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
You can see the full list by clicking here.