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Titanic Belfast battles Las Vegas strip and Sugarloaf Mountain for world's top tourist attraction crown

By Sophie Inge

Titanic Belfast is in the running to be crowned the world's top tourist attraction.

The museum showcasing the ocean liner is one of eight global finalists vying for the prestigious title at the World Travel Awards later this month.

It is up against iconic settings such as the Las Vegas Strip and Rio's Sugarloaf Mountain for the accolade of the World's Leading Tourist Attraction 2016.

The museum is urging people to vote before the deadline on Monday, October 24.

Judith Owens, who is deputy chief executive and director of operations at Titanic Belfast, said fans could help put Northern Ireland at the top of the world.

"In less than a minute, you can help ensure that we are the envy of the world with a global title few countries much bigger than ours can dream of," she said.

"Just one more push will make us officially number one. With direct online action, together we can realise a dream few would have ever thought possible."

Opened in 2012, the Titanic museum has welcomed three million visitors from 145 different countries to date - including the Queen, US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, film director James Cameron and celebrities such as Adele and Michael Buble.

Spread across six floors, the museum consists of nine galleries that bring the liner's famous story to life.

Earlier this month, the museum saw off competition from the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis and the Colosseum to be crowned Europe's Leading Visitor Attraction.

Now it is aiming for the even grander world title.

Also in the running is Dublin's Guinness Storehouse, the Las Vegas Strip, Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World, Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio and Intramuros - the historic centre of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel in the Andes Mountains in Peru, and Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro complete the line-up.

Last year, Titanic Belfast was crowned Europe's Best Tourist Attraction for Groups at the European Group Travel Awards.

More than a century on, the Titanic still fascinates people around the world. The Belfast-built liner sank after colliding with an iceberg in the north Atlantic during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 15, 1912.

More than 1,500 of the 2,224 passengers and crew died, making the accident one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.

Measuring a whopping 269 metres with a maximum breadth of 28.19 metres, the ship was constructed by Harland & Wolff on Queen's Island, now known as the Titanic Quarter, in Belfast Harbour.

Voting is open until Monday, October 24, to have your say click here.

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