Commentary

That's Amore

The results of The Harris Poll of American adults, surveyed online in July 2011, show that when asked if they could spend a vacation in any country in the world outside of the U.S., and not have to worry about cost, the country named most often for the second year in a row was Italy. In fact, Italy has been a top pick for Americans for some time, ranking as first or second choice for the past 8 years.

This year Great Britain comes in 2nd, followed by Australia in 3rd. This is the lowest ranking Australia has seen since this question was first asked in 1997; last year and in 2008 Australia was 2nd on the list and every other year until now it has been 1st. Rounding out this year's top 5 are Ireland and France.

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Greece holds steady at its ranking of 6 from last year, while Spain has become slightly more popular, moving up to 7 this year. Germany has dropped from a tie for 6th last year to 8 this year, and Japan dropped one spot to number 9. Canada, comes in at number 10 this year,

Top 10 Countries Chosen For Vacation Destination (Ranked by all U.S. Adults)

Rank

'08

'09

'10

2011

Italy

1

2

1

1

Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales) 3

3

4

2

 

Australia

2

1

2

3

Ireland

5

5

3

4

France

4

4

5

5

Greece

6

8

T6

6

Spain

10

10

9

7

Germany

8

6

T6

8

Japan

7

7

8

9

Canada

9

11

12

10

Source: Harris Poll, July 2011

Considering the chosen countries for vacation, over half of Americans would choose somewhere in Europe, two in five would choose to go to a country in Asia or the Pacific region, while one in ten prefer a country in the Americas or Caribbean. 3% say they would not leave the U.S. and 6% are not sure where they would choose to go.

Top Regions Chosen For Vacation Destination (% Of  All U.S. Adults)

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

A European country

48%

50%

49%

53%

A country in the Asia or Pacific region

24

24

24

19

A country in the Americas or Caribbean

15

15

11

10

Source: Harris Poll, July 2011

Different groups of people have different vacation priorities. While the top vacation destination for both men and women is Italy, the rest of their top 5 falls out somewhat differently:

  • For men the 2nd top pick is Australia, followed by Great Britain
  • The female top picks are Great Britain 2nd and Ireland 3rd
  • Echo Boomers and Gen X both say Italy is their top pick
  • Baby Boomers and Matures pick Great Britain as tops

Top Country For Vacation By Age And Gender (% Of All U.S. Adults)

 

Generation

Gender

Rank

EchoBoomers

(18 to 34)

Gen X

(34 to 46)

BabyBoomers

(47 to 65)

Matures

(66+)

Men

Women

1

Italy

Italy

Great Britain

Great Britain

Italy

Italy

2

France

Great Britain

Australia

Australia

Australia

Great Britain

3

Australia

Ireland T3

Italy

Italy

Great Britain

Ireland

4

Great Britain

Australia T3

Ireland

Canada

France T4

Australia

5

Ireland

Greece

France

Ireland

Spain T4

France

Source: Harris Poll, July 2011

The report concludes by noting that whether Americans are frequent travelers, voracious consumers of travel literature and news, or none of the above, most have an idea where they would go if they had the opportunity to do so without financial constraints. While taking these kinds of trips is not a reality for most Americans, though continuing to dream about and work toward, small weekend trips can satisfy some of the needs met by vacations, which could be a realistic possibility regardless of schedule or budget.

 For more from HarrisInteractive, please visit here.

 

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