After two consecutive decades of getting named Conde Nast Traveler‘s “Top Island In The World,” Maui has dropped to mere third in this year’s rankings.
“Hawaii’s second-largest island boasts rugged terrain, volcanic beaches, and the towering Mt. Haleakala,” Conde Nast Traveler said about Maui this year. “It’s the place to be for snorkelers, hikers, and food lovers alike.”
Does this mean the Maui County Council won’t be giving the Maui Visitors Bureau another $3.5 million next year? After all, the bureau’s own website boasts that “From shimmering beaches and sacred Iao Valley to migrating humpback whales and sunset on Haleakala, it’s not surprising Maui was voted the ‘Best Island’ by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for 19 years.” Or will they, in fact, get even more taxpayer dollars in a desperate bid to reclaim past glory?
In any case, this year’s Top Island, Palawan, didn’t even appear in the 2013 rankings. “This small island—one of the Philippines’ 7,107—shot to the top of our list this year with a recent claim to fame,” Conde Nast Traveler said about this year’s Top Island. “It’s now home to one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.”
Regardless, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa seemed to be a good sport about crushing loss of prestige among the world’s marketing mavens.
“I’ve heard from several people that the southern islands of the Philippines such as Palawan are remarkably beautiful,” said Arakawa through a spokesperson. “And the fact is, there are hundreds of vacation destinations out here now that weren’t there 20 years ago. Maui’s visitor industry has had great success but we work hard for it, and we need to keep upgrading and evolving if we want to remain number one. Not just in the minds of Conde Nast readers but among travelers from all over the world. I sincerely believe we can return to the number one spot, but it will take a lot of hard work from our community. Working together I know we can do it.”
Photo of Palawan: bertconcepts/Wikimedia Commons