US pips Australia to emerge Most Popular Holiday Destination

July 30th, 2008 - 4:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, July 30 (ANI): Tourists have voted the United States as the most popular tourist destination, knocking Australia and the United Kingdom to the second and the third position, respectively, says a new poll.

Since its debut in 2004, Australia has always come out on top of the Lonely Planet Travellers”” Pulse Survey.

But this year, for the first time, the US collected 1509 of the 17,500 votes from 132 countries, followed by Australia with 1222.

The United Kingdom took out bronze (965 votes) while Italy (836 votes) and New Zealand (648 votes) rounded out the top five.

The Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand) managed to step up four spots, the biggest bolter in the poll, last year only just scraping into the top 10 at ninth.

Better news for Australia came in the favourite country category, where Oz took out poll position for the fourth year in a row, sitting pretty with 1316 votes.

Italy came in a close second (1256 votes) followed by the US (1103 votes).

Of those who responded, 5003 had visited between four and ten destinations over their lifetime and 11,765 had taken a holiday in the last 12 months.

When it came to reasoning, a little more than 6500 headed out of town to “relax and unwind”, 5415 wanted to “try something new or different” and 4836 wanted to “learn or explore more about other cultures”.

Lonely Planet marketing analyst Adam Stanford said that the rise of the US can be linked to exchange rates.

“The United States is obviously becoming increasingly popular due to the exchange rate of the dollar. Making what was once an expensive country to travel a lot more accessible, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.

But he said Australia shouldn””t fear, the tourists will be back.

“Australia is a classic destination for travellers. (It) has so much to offer, it”’’s likely to remain popular with travellers for a long time to come.

“Plus Australia will be back in the spotlight this year with Baz Lurhrmann”’’s upcoming film, Australia, and a new promotional campaign from Tourism Australia, he added. (ANI)

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