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Auckland, Closed to the World by Covid, Takes Lonely Planet’s List of Best Cities to Visit | Auckland | Top stories

Auckland, Closed to the World by Covid, Takes Lonely Planet’s List of Best Cities to Visit | Auckland

| Local News | Local News

Further proof that we all want what we can’t have, Auckland took first place in Lonely Planet’s ‘best cities to visit’ ranking – despite being currently on lockdown, in the center of an outbreak. of Covid and banned both the rest of the country and the world.

The announcement sparked some amusement in New Zealand, as anyone now attempting to visit the locked city could face a hefty fine or jail time. “It’s kind of a lonely planet at lockdown level 3,” one resident wrote on social media. “It probably means the rest of the world is in a very bad situation,” replied another.

The rankings are, of course, for cities to visit in 2022, and Lonely Planet is no doubt optimistic that at some point next year the city will have reopened to tourists.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said in a press release the ranking “will give Auckland’s tourism and hospitality sectors a real boost as they begin to recover from Covid lockdowns -19 and the reopening of borders “.

But deadlines for New Zealand and Auckland relaxing their borders are still pending. For now, all potential visitors – even those from elsewhere in New Zealand – must be granted a legal exemption to cross the city’s guarded border. The city is in a Level 3 lockdown, with most shops, cafes and restaurants closed to diners, and a ban on gatherings inside.

For tourists hoping to enter the country, any eventual trip could still take several months. Currently, only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents or those with an essential worker visa are allowed entry. Even for them, access is incredibly difficult: you have to book in the isolation and quarantine facilities run by the country’s government. The demand for these places far exceeds the supply, with waiting lists reaching over 30,000.

This week, the government announced it would start shortening quarantine stays for fully vaccinated travelers and allow some returnees to self-isolate at home at some point before March of next year – but made clear that their priority was to facilitate the return of New Zealanders from overseas before allowing tourist entry.

Yet Auckland’s long absence from the international arena seems to have made the hearts of travel editors more affectionate. “[New Zealand’s] The largest and most diverse city has always been beautiful, but an unintended consequence of Covid-19 has been the flourishing of Auckland’s cultural scene, shedding new light on exciting local creativity, ”Lonely Planet said in his entrance to the city.

According to a written statement, the cities were “judged on criteria of timeliness, unique experiences, wow factor and sustainability.”

This isn’t the first time Auckland has climbed to the top of international rankings: In June, Wellington and Auckland topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the most liveable cities – mainly due to their Covid-free status. The news was greeted with bemusement in New Zealand, given the two cities’ struggles with unaffordable housing and infrastructure.

Top Stories World news Auckland, Closed to the World by Covid, Takes Lonely Planet’s List of Best Cities to Visit | Auckland

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