CANBERRA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Australian outback has been rated as one of the world's best places to visit in 2019 by travel giant Lonely Planet.
Australia's Red Center, which includes landmarks such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, was rated the fourth-best region to visit in 2019 in Lonely Planet's annual "best in travel" guide.
It marks the first time the Northern Territory (NT) has featured in the guide since 2012 when Darwin was rated 10th in the list of top cities to visit.
Chris Zeiher, spokesperson for Lonely Planet, said the natural wonders of the Outback were the region's major drawcards.
"The (red center) really scored quite heavily on the unique experiences piece, and that is the vastness of the red center," Zeiher told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"Uluru is kind of like the jewel in the crown."
The NT government in April announced that China's Donghai Airlines would run direct flights from Shenzhen, which was rated the second best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, to Darwin in an attempt to boost tourism from China.
Zeiher said the decision to close the Uluru rock climb from October 2019 was a big factor in the region's high ranking.
The decision to close the climb came after the land's traditional owners, to whom Uluru is a sacred site, protested it for decades.
"We really felt that it was a great opportunity to highlight the fact that this is an important moment in Australian history in terms of the recognition and respect of the traditional owners," Zeiher said.
"We really want to encourage travellers to adopt an early mindset and actually think about exploring the rock in different ways."