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For years Brits have been heading Thailand, inspired by the stunning scenes in The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio. In fact, Phuket was the most popular summer holiday hotspot this summer, according to specialists at Southall Travel. But there is a new must-visit destination creeping onto everyone’s bucket lists – Sri Lanka. The island nation has just been named the Asia’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards. Sri Lanka also took the prize for the Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the prestigious awards. One of the main appeals of the island is its diverse landscapes, which range from rainforest to arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches. Tourists can go on safari in one of the country’s stunning national parks and spot elephants and leopards, or go whale watching off of the south coast. There is an abundance of sandy beaches and beautiful ancient Buddhist temples. The island in the Indian Ocean is also renewed for its seafood curries and spicy roti bread. Visitors often start on the west coast after arriving at Colombo airport. Popular beach towns include Negombo and Beruwala or the more stylish Benton. Inland from the capitol is the hill country, a sprawling green landscape of tea plantations. Kandy is the cultural heart of the country and one of the best places to see some of Sri Lanka’s grandest temples and most colourful festivals. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast Uda Walawe National Park in the south is a great place to spot elephants. While Yala National Park is great for spotting bears, leopards and more elephants. If you’re looking for a holiday destination a little closer to home, Portugal was named Europe’s leading travel destination at an industry event held over the weekend. The Algarve, in Portugal, was also named as Europe’s best beach destination, while Madeira scooped the prize for the leading island destination. The winners are based on votes of travel professionals, industry leaders and consumer travellers. Daily Star