TripAdvisor names Ipswich 'among world's top emerging destinations'
Ipswich has been named among the world's top emerging destinations, according to TripAdvisor - thanks possibly in part to Ed Sheeran.
The review website compiled the list of up-and-coming locations from searches by users - with the Suffolk town the UK's only entry in the top 25.
The singer, who has millions of fans worldwide, closed his Divide tour in Ipswich last August to 160,000 people.
TripAdvisor said its data showed travellers were "falling for" the town.
"The awards evaluated data from November 2018 to October 2019, so it's very possible the 'Ed Sheeran effect' was a contributing factor in helping to put Ipswich on the global map," the travel website said.
"A destination that's managed to keep its historical charm intact, Ipswich is a cultural hub of activity," it added.
"From strolling through the arboretum at Christchurch Park, taking in a show at the famous Regent Theatre, viewing Constable's art at Christchurch Mansion, it's little wonder travellers are falling in love with Ipswich."
The list of emerging destinations - that was compiled for the first time this year - was topped by Kaliningrad in Russia, ahead of Saranda in Albania and the Lebanese capital Beirut. Ipswich came in 14th.
TripAdvisor said the chart for the new category was drawn up using an algorithm which compared year-on-year increases in searches and positive reviews for accommodations, restaurants and attractions.
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A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council welcomed the recognition, but said Ipswich's rise was no flash in the pan.
"We are creating momentum and coming up with something new every year," he said.
"The interest in Ed Sheeran followed Rodin's The Kiss, which was a big success, and the Elmer the Patchwork Elephant trail brought lots of people in too."
The Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion attracted visitors from Japan, Mexico and Australia, and was part of a "growing cultural offer", the spokesman added.
TripAdvisor's Top 25 emerging destinations
- 1. Kaliningrad, Russia
- 2. Saranda, Albania
- 3. Beirut, Lebanon
- 4. Luxor, Egypt
- 5. Naoussa, Greece
- 6. Rugen Island, Germany
- 7. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
- 8. Monopoli, Italy
- 9. La Paz, Mexico
- 10. Curaçao, Caribbean
- 11. Ile d'Oleron, France
- 12. Guayaquil, Ecuador
- 13. Tulsa, United States
- 14. Ipswich, United Kingdom
- 15. Franschhoek, South Africa
- 16. Tangier, Morocco
- 17. Takamatsu, Japan
- 18. Cala d'Or, Spain
- 19. Petropolis, Brazil
- 20. Antwerp, Belgium
- 21. Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- 22. Alvor, Portugal
- 23. Winnipeg, Canada
- 24. Darwin, Australia
- 25. Agra, India