Yorkshire rated third best region in the world

To the locals, it's God's own country - and now Lonely Planet has crowned Yorkshire as the third best place in the world.

The new Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014 guide rates it lower than Sikkim in India and Kimberly, Australia, but ahead of Mallorca and even Tonga.

The travel guide publisher cites the county's "rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs", as well as next year's Tour de France, which begins in Leeds. It points out that Yorkshire's local athletes clocked up more medals in the 2012 London Olympics than entire countries such as South Africa, Spain and even the 2016 hosts, Brazil. Also highlighted are Bradford's status as the world's first Unesco City of Film, a new state-of-the-art gallery in Wakefield and the number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

"It's about time that travellers wake up to the wonder that is Yorkshire," says contributor to the guide Tom Hall. "Listing the county as one of the best regions in the world for visitors in the coming year is in recognition of it being a fantastic all-rounder; with some of the most stunning scenery in the country, dynamic cities, friendly people and a burgeoning food scene."

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, says he's not surprised by the news.

"Endorsements rarely come much better than this, from a guide that has a worldwide reputation across tourism and informing visitors. This is massive for Yorkshire and our thousands of amazing tourism businesses, destinations and events," he says.

"Welcome to Yorkshire has worked tirelessly with our partners since we launched in 2009 to put Yorkshire on the world map because we know how amazing and unique our county is. Seeing Yorkshire rank so highly in this guide is testament to the collective hard work that has been put in, not least in securing the Grand Départ of the Tour de France for Yorkshire next summer."

Earlier this month, Visit York revealed that tourism in the county is up by 16 percent this year, mainly because of improved marketing, the continuing popularity of the staycation and a series of new attractions and events.

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