A spate of natural disasters has meant a poor 2011 for the Asia-Pacific tourism industry so far but recognition in two top gobal awards for two of the region's destinations will provide some respite from the gloom at least.
Hong Kong has featured in TripAdvisor's Top 25 Destinations in the World poll announced last week - just sneaking into to the top 10 at 10th. Coming out on top was South Africa's Cape Town, followed by Sydney and Peru's Macchu Picchu.
Surprisingly, for a country expected to attract 132 million inbound tourists this year, China was only represented in the top 25 by Hong Kong.
TripAdvisor's awards were decided "based on a combination of travelers' favorite places and overall destination popularity."
Meanwhile, Japan's Hotel Monterey in Kyoto has been ranked as the fifth best in the world in the annual Insider Select 2011, run by Expedia, one of the world's biggest online booking sites (and TripAdvisor's parent company).
That poll was taken out by Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle - thanks to its "unparalleled customer service and stunning scenery" - and it held off the challenge of three Italy properties - iQ Hotel Roma, Hotel Antiche Figure in Venice and the Hotel Berchielli in Florence.
The Insider Select program was launched in 2007 and takes into account customer reviews, market manager input and value ratings, according to Expedia.
Hong Kong's position in TripAdvisor's top 10 global destinations was a pat on the back for the city's tourism workers, according to the chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, James Tien. And they definitely need it after a series of poor-service scandals have rocked the industry in the past 12 months.
"As online travel planning becomes a global trend, this award will help us achieve positive word of mouth for Hong Kong and inspire even more travellers to visit our city," he said. " Working closely with our trade partners, we will continue to showcase Hong Kong's appeal as Asia's World City, including its vibrant, cosmopolitan setting, its unique fusion of East and West, as well as great diversity of attractions, which give visitors an exceptional, world-class experience."
And the winners are ...
TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2011, Top 10 Destinations in the World
1. Cape Town, South Africa
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Machu Picchu, Peru
4. Paris, France
5. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
6. New York City, USA
7. Rome, Italy
8. London, United Kingdom
9. Barcelona, Spain
10. Hong Kong, China
Insider Select 2011
1. Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle, USA
2. iQ Hotel, Rome, Italy
3. Hotel Antiche Figure, Venice, Italy
4. Hotel Berchielli, Florence, Italy
5. Hotel Monterey, Kyoto, Japan
6. The Nines, Portland, USA
7. Les Terres M Barka, Marrakesh, Morocco
8. K&K Hotel Central, Prague, Czech Republic
9. Hotel Teatro, Denver, USA
10. Sofitel New York, USA.