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New Zealand dethroned as ‘greatest country on earth’

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New Zealand has been dethroned as the “greatest country on Earth” in the UK Telegraph readers’ poll after a decade of consecutive wins. South Africa claimed the top spot in the 2023 poll, with New Zealand taking second place. The poll, which received responses from 30,000 people, was last conducted in 2019 before being put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The easier access that Brits now have to South Africa is believed to be one of the reasons for its victory over New Zealand. Direct flights from the UK to Johannesburg and Cape Town, along with a near-identical time zone, make it a more convenient destination. The Telegraph highlighted South Africa’s natural beauty, including Cape Town, the Garden Route, wineries, and national parks, as factors contributing to its win.

While New Zealand’s “exile” during the pandemic may have impacted its ranking, the Telegraph still acknowledged the country’s positives, such as Marlborough’s wine, Aoraki/Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Wellington, and Lake Taupō.

The full rankings of the top 10 countries in the Telegraph Travel Awards (2019 rankings in brackets) are as follows:
South Africa (5)
New Zealand (1)
Maldives (3)
Japan (2)
Australia (8)
Italy (10)
Kenya (21)
India (15)
Costa Rica (11)
Botswana (6).

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