CNN says SVG “has long drawn celebrities and vacationers with deep pockets, but regular tourists are discovering it, too” (Photo: CNN).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – This country has made the lists of two international media’s top travel destinations for 2012.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is fifth among nine destinations on CNN’s “World’s top destinations for 2012” and third among 12 destinations listed by Travel+Leisure.

The country is ranked behind England, the World of the Maya, Myanmar (also known as Burma), and Chicago, Illinois.

The other destinations on the list are The Netherlands, Atlantic Canada, Uruguay, and Orlando, Florida.

“What’s not to like about a tropical paradise that bills itself as ‘one destination, 32 gorgeous Caribbean islands’? CNN said in the report published on Tuesday.

“Located between St. Lucia and Grenada, this island chain has long drawn stars and vacationers with deep pockets, but it will become more accessible to a wider range of travellers thanks to a [US]$240 million airport scheduled to open on St. Vincent,” CNN further said of SVG, citing Travel + Leisure.

CNN’s list was based on recommendations from travel experts Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour; Anne Banas, executive editor at SmarterTravel; and Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for Orbitz.com.

It also considered suggestion from Travel+Leisure and Budget Travel.

“As always, some places will stand out above the rest when it comes to unforgettable things to do and see,” CNN said of its 2012 destinations.

Meanwhile, SVG was third on a list of 13 places that Travel+Leisure said are the “Hottest Travel Destinations of 2012”.

The country was topped by Sri Lanka and Toronto and came ahead of Guimarães, Portugal; Abu Dhabi, Costa Navarino, Greece; Xishuangbanna, China; Southern Bahia, Brazil; Hamburg, Germany, Panama, Mozambique’s Northern Coast, and Bentonville, Arkansas

Travel+Leisure says that SVG “has long been an under-the-radar getaway for the jet-setting elite.

“But recent developments—including a $240 million airport set to open on St. Vincent next year—are making the region accessible to a broader audience,” the publication said.

The international airport here, being constructed at Argyle, is actually expected to become operational in 2014.

Among SVG’s attractions, Travel+Leisure mentioned the new Buccament Bay Resort, and Mustique, which “remains a playground for the likes of Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger (and was a runner-up honeymoon pick for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)”.

The report also speaks of the privately owned Petit St. Vincent, which has reopened after a top-to-bottom makeover. The island comprises 22 stone-walled, thatched-roof cottages “done up in earthy tones and driftwood palapas now line the beach”.

Travel+Leisure says that some of its picks for the 2012 destinations “reflect travellers’ increasing thirst for adventure and desire to immerse themselves in local ways.

“Our clients are interested in remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations that still retain their traditional culture,” says Scott Wiseman, president of Abercrombie & Kent USA, according to the report.

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