For Second Year Italy is Top Choice For Vacations Italy is followed by English-speaking countries: Great Britain, Australia and Ireland

NEW YORK, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Few Americans have both the financial wherewithal and scheduling flexibility to take a vacation anywhere in the world on a whim, but that makes it no less fun to think about.  When American adults were asked where they would choose, 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 – it has ranked as either the first or second choice for the past 8 years.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO )

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

This year Great Britain comes in at the number 2 spot, 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 (4) and France (5).  

Greece holds steady at its ranking of 6 from last year, while it seems Spain has become slightly more popular, moving up from 9 last year, and 10 before that, 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.  America's neighbor to the north, Canada, comes in at number 10 this year, followed by the much farther away New Zealand, at number 11.  Rounding out the top 15 vacation destinations are Switzerland (12), Israel (13), and returning to the list after an absence last year is Brazil at 14 and China at 15; China was last in the top 15, also at number 15, 4 years ago.

Mexico and the Netherlands dropped off of the top 15 list this year – they were listed at 13 and 14, respectively, last year.

Looking at the chosen countries for vacation, over half of Americans would choose somewhere in Europe (53%), two in five would choose to go to a country in Asia or the Pacific region (19%) while one in ten prefer a country in the Americas or Caribbean (10%).  Much smaller numbers say they would choose to vacation in a Middle Eastern country (2%) or Africa (2%) while 3% say they would not leave the U.S. and 6% are not sure where they would choose to go.

Not surprisingly, 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 (3) and then France & Spain (which are tied for 4th).  The female top 5 list includes Great Britain (2), Ireland (3), Australia (4) and France (5).  There seems to be an age divide in vacation preferences as well – younger Americans including Echo Boomers, aged 18-34, and Gen X, aged 34-46, both say Italy is their top pick, while for older Americans—Baby Boomers, aged 47-65, and Matures, aged 66 and over—the top pick is Great Britain.

So What?

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 picking up and taking these kinds of trips is not a reality for most Americans, during this summer travel season—while continuing to dream about and possibly work towards a major vacation—it is important to remember that small weekend trips, or even a specially planned afternoon, can satisfy some of the needs met by vacations, which could be a realistic possibility regardless of schedule or budget.  

TABLE 1

TOP COUNTRIES CHOSEN FOR VACATION DESTINATION

"If you could spend a vacation in any country in the world, outside the United States, and you would not have to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose?"

Base: All U.S. adults

Rank

'97

'98

'99

'00

'01

'02

'03

'04

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09

'10

2011

Italy

5

4

4

2

2

3

2

2

2

2

2

1

2

1

1

Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales)

2

2

2

4

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

4

2

Australia

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

3

Ireland

7

6

7

5

6

5

5

5

4

4

5

5

5

3

4

France

3

3

5

3

4

6

4

4

5

5

4

4

4

5

5

Greece

=11

14

11

=14

=14

=14

10

14

=8

9

10

6

8

=6

6

Spain

*

11

12

11

=12

11

9

9

12

12

9

10

10

9

7

Germany

4

5

3

6

5

7

6

6

6

6

6

8

6

=6

8

Japan

=13

10

=13

13

10

*

8

=11

=8

11

7

7

7

8

9

Canada

6

7

6

7

9

4

=12

7

7

7

11

9

11

12

10

New Zealand

=13

15

=13

=14

=14

13

7

8

11

8

8

11

9

10

11

Switzerland

9

8

=9

=8

8

8

11

=11

10

13

13

12

12

15

12

Israel

10

13

*

=8

11

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

11

13

Brazil

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=15

*

*

14

*

14

China

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

15

*

*

15

*

*

*

15

Notes: * Not in top 15; = indicates a tie




Countries that were in the top 15 last year, but dropped out this year:

Mexico (was # 13), Netherlands (was # 14)



TABLE 2

TOP COUNTRIES – BY AGE AND GENDER

"If you could spend a vacation in any country in the world, outside the United States, and you would not have to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose?"

Base: All U.S. adults

Rank

Generation

Gender

Echo

Boomers

(18 to 34)

Gen X

(34 to 46)

Baby

Boomers

(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 (=3)

Italy

Italy

Great Britain

Ireland

4

Great Britain

Australia (=3)

Ireland

Canada

France (=4)

Australia

5

Ireland

Greece

France

Ireland

Spain (=4)

France




TABLE 3

TOP COUNTRIES CHOSEN FOR VACATION DESTINATION

SUMMARY BY REGIONS OF THE WORLD

"If you could spend a vacation in any country in the world, outside the United States, and you would not have to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose?"

Base: All U.S. adults


2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

A European country

48

44

46

50

51

50

51

50

48

50

49

53

A country in the Asia or Pacific region

24

22

18

25

26

26

26

25

24

24

24

19

A country in the Americas or Caribbean

13

17

19

12

13

12

14

11

15

15

11

10

A country in Africa

3

3

2

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

4

2

A country in the Middle East

3

4

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

2

Other country

*

*

1

1

*

1

*

1

*

*

*

*

Wouldn't go anywhere outside U. S.

4

7

5

3

4

2

2

6

6

4

7

3

Not sure/refused

5

3

8

3

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

6

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.

* Less than 0.5 percent.




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 11 to 18, 2011 among 2,183 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J40488

Q980

The Harris Poll® #89, August 2, 2011

By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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