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Empire State Building ranked #1 New York City attraction on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List

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In addition to a renovation in sustainability, the Empire State Building Observatory Experience recently underwent a four-year $165 million transformation.

NEW YORK – The Empire State Building is ranked New York City’s #1 attraction to visit on the recently released 2nd edition of Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List.  Lonely Planet, a lead global travel authority, stated “We’ve all got a list of places that we want to see for ourselves: places friends have enthused about, places we’ve read about, dreamed about. This is our list.” 

“The Empire State Building is thrilled to be included on this important list of incredible destinations. Our recent $165 million, all-new Observatory experience has state - of-the art Indoor Environmental Quality so our visitors can learn about all aspects of the iconic building: from the moment it was built, to its place in pop culture today, in confidence,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, President of the Observatory.

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List is the 2nd edition of the travel powerhouse’s bestseller coffee table book. It’s the definitive wish-list of the 500 most thrilling, memorable and interesting travel experiences in the world – ranked in order of brilliance. The second edition adds more than 200 new destinations. The experiences and destinations selected by Lonely Planet are “a mix of knock-out new openings, sights that have upped their game, or places more relevant to the way we travel now.”

“We also changed the way we calculated the list,” says Lonely Planet’s VP of Publishing Piers Pickard. “For this edition, we awarded extra points to destinations and attractions that are managing tourism sustainability.”

The Empire State Building has been a leader in sustainability for a decade. The building has led the industry in energy efficiency, waste redirection, water conservation, and most importantly in today’s world, indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Empire State Building has slashed carbon emissions from operations at 40 percent. The improvements have included: elevators that generate energy as they move, windowpanes that were refurbished to make them ultra-insulated and the now efficient LED multicolored lights that flash across the city.

The Observatory’s recent renovation included the addition of a MERV 13 filtration device, which uses a bipolar ionization air purification system that is proven to neutralize 99.92 percent of COVID-19 particles in the air. Empire State Building is also the first building in the country to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating, an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facility types, focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to address a COVID-19 environment now and broader health and safety-related issues into the future.

ESRT recently announced that in its first year of submission to GRESB, widely recognized as the most rigorous standard for the sustainability performance of real estate companies and their funds, the company received the highest possible GRESB 5 Star Rating and Green Star recognition. With a score of 88 in the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment, ESRT’s achievement places the company in the top 20% of all respondents. 

In addition to a renovation in sustainability, the Empire State Building Observatory Experience recently underwent a four-year $165 million transformation. Now, when visitors enter through their own dedicated lobby, they are met with informative exhibits that engage and orient them on their visit to New York City. From the 10,000 square foot museum on the second floor, to the unmatched views through the floor-to-ceiling windows on the 102nd Floor Observatory, the Empire State Building is the must-see attraction in Midtown Manhattan.

Take Lonely Planet’s recommendation and visit the Empire State Building, New York City’s #1 attraction.

With our reduced capacity, this is the perfect time to avoid the crowds. Visitors will need to purchase timed tickets in advance. “Our complete reopening program is available on www.esbnyc.com to give our visitors confidence in our safety protocols, and to help guide other attractions in best practices” stated Jean-Yves Ghazi, President of the Observatory. “The Empire State Building will always view the health and wellness of our visitors and employees as our top priority.”

How did Lonely Planet rank the 500 best places in the world?
The longlist was compiled from all the highlights found in every Lonely Planet guidebook over the years. Each attraction and sight recommended by Lonely Planet authors was included, before being whittled down to a shortlist. Everyone in the Lonely Planet community was then asked to vote on their 20 top travel experiences. With hundreds of votes cast, we ended up with a score for each entry and a definitive ranked list of the top 500 places to see around the world.

Did you take into account those places managing tourism sustainably?
During the scoring process, Lonely Planet used the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list and cross referenced the site or destination against it. If it was recognized on that forum, the nomination received bonus points. Additionally, Lonely Planet maintains an in-house list of over-touristed places and sites and any places on that list had a percentage subtracted from their total.

“After seven months of staying at home, now's the perfect time to start thinking about where and how to travel once normality returns,” Pickard said. “In putting together this book, we were excited by changes in both the ‘where’ and the ‘how’. We added 200 new entries into our list of the world’s Top 500. And we were both surprised and reassured by just how many of the Top 500 are working hard to create more sustainable visitor experiences.”

In addition, Lonely Planet will be giving users of its travel app Guides by Lonely Planet access to free destination content to over 100 locations featured on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List. Guides by Lonely Planet is available for download on iOS and Android.

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