Hobart’s top score in prestigious tourism award

Australia's island state capital has shot up in international rankings.

Australia's island state capital has shot up in international rankings. Photo: Getty

The Harbour Bridge and Opera House have failed to prevent Sydney from being trumped by a surprise Australian city in a recent tourism award.

Hobart has been voted the Best City in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific in the 2023 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.

Tasmania’s capital has enjoyed a fast ascent in the awards’ rankings over the past few years, moving from fourth place in 2021, to second place in 2022 and the top spot this year.

Sarah Clark, Tourism Tasmania CEO, said the accolade was a “big win” for Australia’s island state, and indicated a strong interest from North American travellers.  

Tasmania is known for its stunning views. Photo: Getty

The recognition of the city is overdue, Alex Heroys, Destination Southern Tasmania CEO, said.

“The city’s stunning locale, combined with its outstanding hospitality, gastronomy, accommodation and accessibility to world-class wilderness, were instrumental factors in its recognition as the ultimate travel destination,” he said.

“At the core of nipaluna/Hobart’s success, however, is its welcoming community.

“The people of this incredible town, known for their friendliness and warmth, play a crucial role in creating an inviting atmosphere for visitors from around the globe.”

It’s not just the international community that holds Hobart in high esteem; a 2018 survey found Hobartians are by far the most satisfied with their city out of Australian capital city residents.

Australia and New Zealand sweep top five

Travel + Leisure is one of the biggest American travel media platforms, with an audience of 9.9 million.

Annual rankings are the results of surveys sent to hundreds of thousands of Travel + Leisure readers, who rate cities based on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Australian cities took three of the top five spots in the Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific section of the awards.

Worldwide rankings a different story

Australian cities did not make an impact in the worldwide Travel + Leisure city rankings, with only Hobart making an appearance at No. 22 – despite being a newcomer to the worldwide category.

Mexico’s Oaxaca came first for the second year in a row in Travel + Leisure Readers’ 25 Favourite Cities in the World of 2023, with Udaipur, India, and Kyoto, Japan, rounding out the top three.

However, Australia fared a lot better in international beach rankings earlier this year.

Four Australia beaches scored spots on Banana Boat’s list of the world’s 50 best beaches, alongside big names from the Seychelles and Hawaii; Western Australia’s Lucky Bay came in first place.

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