British Airways has named Londonderry among its top global destinations for the coming year — beating Las Vegas and Dubai in the rankings.
The leading airline yesterday unveiled its 13 best places to visit in 2013 after a panel of experts trawled company data.
Derry is listed among more well-established tourist meccas, coming in seventh of the 13 most desirable locations across the world.
The accolade is a further coup for the city just days before a massive pyrotechnics show kicks off its year as UK City of Culture.
VisitBritain has also listed the City of Culture celebrations as one of the major UK events taking place in 2013, alongside the arrival of the Royal baby.
It also comes after travel bible Lonely Planet named Derry among its top 10 destinations for 2013. BA, which flies to Belfast but not Derry, praised the city as it confirmed its inclusion. In their listings the judges concluded: “Voted as the City of Culture for 2013, there’s never been a better time to visit Derry.
“Just over an hour from Belfast, it’s a great destination for a city break, especially to enjoy the many celebrations and cultural events taking place there.
“It will be hosting an exciting array of one-off events. Highlights include a triathlon on the banks of the River Foyle in June, and a ‘Festival of Light' in November.”
Derry was among only four European destinations to make the list, along with Croatia, Tbilisi and Alicante. The city came in behind Sri Lanka, Rio, Korea, Croatia, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.
Derry mayor Kevin Campbell said: “This is a fantastic endorsement of the city as a must-see place to visit in 2013 and demonstrates the opportunity for visitor growth. We’ve a fantastic city experience and we look forward to welcoming both local and international visitors to be part of the 2013 year.”
British Airways top 13 destinations 2013
1. Sri Lanka
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3. Seoul, Korea
6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
7. Derry, Northern Ireland
8. Las Vegas, USA
9. Tbilisi, Georgia
10. San Diego, USA
11. Cape Town, South Africa