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Great Barrier Reef Among World’s Best Places to Visit in 2016

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(Daniel Osterkamp/Creative RF/Getty Images)
(Daniel Osterkamp/Creative RF/Getty Images)

 

The Great Barrier Reef has been named the best vacation destination in the world in a newly released ranking published by US News & World Report. The UNESCO World Heritage Site stretches for more than 1,200 miles along the coastline of Queensland and is visible from space. Rounding out the top three spots are Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, and 4,000 types of mollusk, covering an area of more than 134,000 square miles. Every year, it’s estimated that 1.9 million people visit the area. But with the devastating effects of climate change and rising water temperatures continuing to place increased pressure on one of the earth’s most extraordinary ecosystems, scientists warn that our time with the natural wonder is running out. In April, the Australian Research Council warned that 500 coral reefs from Cairns to Papua New Guinea experienced the worst mass bleaching on record.

Meanwhile, despite the spate of terror attacks and labor strikes to beset Paris, the City of Light has managed to slip into second place for the best vacation destination of 2016. Currently, the French capital is hosting the UEFA Euro soccer games.

The ranking weighs editors’ and voters’ choices equally. Below are the results of the US News & World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit 2016. –Relaxnews
 

Best Places to Visit in the World

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

(Jeff Hunter/Creative RF/Getty Images)
(Jeff Hunter/Creative RF/Getty Images)

 

2. Paris

(Matteo Colombo/Creative RF/Getty Images)
(Matteo Colombo/Creative RF/Getty Images)

 

(M Swiet Productions/Creative RF/Getty Images)
(M Swiet Productions/Creative RF/Getty Images)

 

Best Places to Visit in the USA

1. Grand Canyon National Park

(Michele Falzone/Creative RM/Getty Images)
(Michele Falzone/Creative RM/Getty Images)

 

2. Maui, Hawaii

(Ed Freeman/Creative RM) Getty Images)
(Ed Freeman/Creative RM) Getty Images)

 

3. Yellowstone National Park

(Matt Anderson Photography/Creative RF/Getty Images)
(Matt Anderson Photography/Creative RF/Getty Images)