New South Wales’ idyllic paradise Lord Howe Island has been ranked the world’s fifth best region to visit next year by global travel authority Lonely Planet.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed island 600km off the north coast of NSW is recognised by Lonely Planet as a must-visit destination for the upcoming year – the only Australian location featured in the Best in Travel lists of Top 10 Regions, Countries and Cities for 2020.

NSW Nationals Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams has represented Lord Howe Island for years and said it certainly deserved the attention.

“Lord Howe Island is just so unique so I’m delighted that this peaceful haven with its breathtaking natural environs has been acknowledged by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s must-visit destinations,” Ms Williams said.

Lonely Planet recognised Lord Howe as a “shining example” of sustainably managed tourism through its commitment to accommodating only 400 visitors at one time, and encouraging guests to participate in ecological projects.

“Parked in the middle of nowhere… this visually stunning island makes an instant impact on the senses with its jaw-dropping World Heritage-listed beauty,” Lonely Planet writes.

“Two soaring green mountains overlook a perfect lagoon and the world’s southernmost coral reef; perfect crescents of beach and splendid hiking trails…add to brilliant outdoors possibilities.”

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the accolade was a huge coup for the state and would boost the island’s profile among international travellers in particular.

“There’s something special about Lord Howe Island and it’s fantastic that Lonely Planet’s spotlight will encourage the rest of the world to discover this beautiful place too,” Mr Ayres said.

“The natural beauty and charming remoteness of the island make Lord Howe a ‘must visit’ destination for all kinds of travellers including luxury seekers and nature lovers.

“These visitors often extend their journey in Sydney before or after their island escape, and many are high yield travellers who contribute significantly to the State’s economy.”