MERSEA Island has joined Cape Town, Budapest and Moscow on a list of the top places to go on holiday this year.
The Guardian newspaper ranked the Blackwater Estuary 24th place in its list of the top 40 places to go in 2014.
Businesses on the island are hoping its inclusion in the list will help attract more tourists.
Chris Avila, co-owner of the West Mersea Oyster Bar, in Coach Road, said: “Mersea has always been a unique place.
“It is pretty rustic still today compared to other areas. Over the past five years it has grown in popularity.
“The whole oyster side of things is getting more popular – more people are eating them.
“Some of the locals want it as quiet as possible, but we need the tourism.”
Sally Moore, owner of Moore’s Estate Agent, in High Street, said: “A lot of people come on holiday here, fall in love with the place and want to live here.
“That is how a lot of homes are sold on the island. I never have to sell the area. It is just such a lovely place. It hasn’t really changed since I was a little girl.”
Gill Tydie, who owns the Victory at Mersea pub, in Coast Road, with her husband John, said: “I think as long as it is maintained properly and we don’t succumb to the demands of holidaymakers, it will be fine.
“There are lovely beaches on the island. It is the simple things Mersea is good at.
“It is lovely and unspoiled and it is like stepping back in time.”
Deputy mayor Wendy Bixby said: “This is absolutely brilliant for Mersea. The Oyster Bar and the Company Shed have helped to raise the profile.
“I think the new heritage trails will mean people know where to go. They will have the full Mersea experience. We’ve got fantastic holiday parks as well.
“People can have whatever kind of holiday they want here.”