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Adelaide cracks Lonely Planet's top 10 list

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Adelaide has been chosen as one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2014 by travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.

South Australia’s capital is ranked ninth on the list included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 guide.

The State Government is so chuffed that it’s thrown a street party in Leigh Street today from 11am to 2pm – with free coffees from the Coffee Branch.

“Having always lived in the shadow of its gregarious eastern-seaboard cousins, the City of Churches has been quietly loosening its pious shackles and embracing its liberal foundations,” says Lonely Planet.

“The year 2014 beckons big changes for the city’s heart, with the completion of the multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the Adelaide Oval, which will link central Adelaide with the Oval and its beautiful surrounding parklands, and historic North Adelaide further on.

“Adelaide is effortlessly chic and like a perfectly cellared red, it’s ready to be uncorked and sampled.”

Lonely Planet says that while Melbourne and Sydney have competed for attention, “Adelaide has transformed itself into the perfect host city”.

“It has accumulated some of Australia’s most popular sporting and arts events, including the cultural tour de force of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide.”

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said Adelaide had a “new energy” and released a video clip (above) which highlights “the city’s recent transformation”.

It seems Adelaide was helped by some deep local knowledge at Lonely Planet. Its Asia Pacific Marketing Director, Chris Zeiher, who wrote the Adelaide chapter, grew up here at Inglewood in the Adelaide Hills and was schooled at Concordia College.

Zeiher told ABC radio today that his assessment of Adelaide came through “incognito” visits to his home town.

“It’s little black notebooks, not quite the beret and scarf … but it’s very much little notebooks and taking photographs of menus and taking photographs of opening hours and those bits and pieces so it’s very incognito,” he said.

He said the final decisions were made by a panel, which assesses nominated cities against a range of criteria, including “excitement” and “value”.

“So it’s a really robust and fairly independent process,” he said.

“Topicality” or “what is actually going on in 2013 that makes the city or destination interesting”, was a key consideration in Adelaide’s favour.

“Adelaide rated quite highly on (that) when were doing the shortlisting process,” Zeiher said. “And really that had a lot to do with Adelaide Oval redevelopment and how it then will draw a different kind of crowd particularly to the CBD when that opens next year.”

He said Adelaide’s charms went beyond the CBD, to suburban pockets such as Croydon’s Queen Street.

“We’re really encouraging travellers to relook at Adelaide, in that Adelaide is actually in transformation; that not only includes the CBD but also some of the suburbs and it’s a big tick in our book.”

Zeiher, who has lived in Melbourne for 14 years, said “the hipsters of Brunswick are going to … shout me down”.

Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities 2014:

1. Paris, France

2. Trinidad, Cuba

3. Cape Town, South Africa

4. Riga, Latvia

5. Zurich, Switzerland

6. Shanghai, China

7. Vancouver, Canada

8. Chicago, US

9. Adelaide, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand

– with AAP

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