For the 9th Year in a Row, Australia Tops the List of Favorite Countries for U.S. Adults to Visit if Cost is Not a Worry

Australia also comes in at #1 for the French, but the United States is the top vacation country for the British, Italians and Germans

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Australia is the top vacation dream spot for adults in the United States and France and comes in second (behind the United States) for adults in Great Britain, Italy and Germany. Rounding out the top five vacation destinations for Americans are Italy (#2), Great Britain (#3), Ireland (#4) and France (#5).

These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,242 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive(R) between July 12 and 18, 2005 and a survey of 5,237 European adults (2,005 in Great Britain, 1,088 in France, 1,075 in Germany and 1,069 in Italy) conducted online by HI Europe, a subsidiary of Harris Interactive, between July 7 and 15, 2005.

European countries are well-represented when looking at the top ten choices for vacation spots by Americans. Besides the countries previously mentioned that are in the top five, many Americans would like to vacation in Germany (#6), Greece (#8) and Switzerland (#10). In fact, half of all U.S. adults (50%) choose a European country as their top spot. Rounding out the top ten vacation spots for Americans (when cost is not considered) is its neighbor to the north, Canada (#7) and Japan, which has moved up three spots to #8 (tied at #8 with Greece).

Trends for Americans’ favorite vacation spots

Compared to previous years, there are some interesting changes to the U.S. results. Maybe due to last year’s Olympic Games, Greece moves up from #14 to #8. Also, now that the furor of the Lord of the Rings movies has subsided, the rush to New Zealand may not be as great as that country drops from #8 to #11. One new country is on the U.S. list this year – for the first time, the Bahamas (#15) makes it as one of the top 15 vacation destinations of U.S. adults.

Favorite vacation destinations for Europeans

When looking at the European top-five vacation destination list, there are some interesting differences to note. The United States followed by Australia are top spots for adults in Great Britain, Germany and Italy, but not France. The French put Australia (#1), Canada (#2), and Italy (#3) before the United States (#4). When it comes to vacationing in neighboring European countries, Spain is in the top five of destinations for the French (#5), Italians (#4) and Germans (#4) but is ninth with the British.

Europeans express diversity in their top travel destination choices when cost is not an option. For example, Egypt is in the top ten for the British (#6), French (#6) and Italians (#5) and comes in tied for twelfth for Germans. A country many Americans might have difficulty placing on a map, the Maldives, is #8 for the British, #13 for the Italians and #11 for the Germans. Each of the European countries surveyed also has at least one unique destination in the top 15- one that is not on any other country’s top-15 list. For the British, South Africa comes in at #11 while the French have four unique travel destinations – Tahiti (#9), Morocco (#12), Vietnam (#14) and Croatia (#15). Italians are the only ones to place Brazil (#12) in their top 15 and Germans place Dubai as #10 in the top vacation destinations.

Regional patterns

Overall, while half of Americans would go to a country in Europe, this preference varies for people in European countries. Over one-third of British adults (35%) would travel to the Asian Pacific region followed by 34 percent who would travel to the Americas and Caribbean. Similar numbers in France would travel within Europe (28%) or to the Americas (28%) while the Italians would be most likely to travel to the Americas (34%) followed by the Asia Pacific region (32%). For Germans, nearly one-third would stay within Europe (31%) followed by 29 percent who would want to visit the Asia Pacific region.

TABLE 1

AMERICANS’ FAVORITE COUNTRIES FOR VACATION – IF COST IS NOT AN ISSUE “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
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Australia 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Italy 5 4 4 2 2 3 2 2 2
Great Britain (England, 2 2 2 4 3 2 3 3 3
Scotland or Wales)
Ireland 7 6 7 5 6 5 5 5 4
France 3 3 5 3 4 6 4 4 5
Germany 4 5 3 6 5 7 6 6 6
Canada 6 7 6 7 9 4 =12 7 7
Greece =11 14 11 =14 =14 =14 10 14 =8
Japan =13 10 =13 13 10 * 8 =11 =8
Switzerland 9 8 =9 =8 8 8 11 =11 10
New Zealand =13 15 =13 =14 =14 13 7 8 11
Spain * 11 12 11 =12 11 9 9 12
Mexico 8 9 =9 =8 =12 12 =12 10 13
Jamaica =11 12 8 10 7 =9 * 13 14
Bahamas * * * * * * * * 15

* Not in top 15.
= Indicates a tie.

TABLE 2

AMERICANS’ FAVORITE COUNTRIES FOR VACATION – SUMMARY BY REGION “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
% % % % % %

A European country 48 44 46 50 51 50
A country in the Asia or Pacific
region 24 22 18 25 26 26
A country in the Americas or
Caribbean 13 17 19 12 13 12
A country in the Middle East 3 4 1 1 1 1
A country in Africa 3 3 2 2 3 3
Other country * * 1 1 * 1
Wouldn’t go anywhere outside
United States 4 7 5 3 4 2
Not sure/refused 5 3 8 3 1 2

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

* Less than 0.5 percent.

TABLE 3

EUROPEANS’ FAVORITE COUNTRIES FOR VACATION – IF COST IS NOT A ISSUE “If you could spend a holiday in any country in the world and you did not have

to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose outside of … ?”

Base: All Adults in Four European Countries

Rank Overall for Great Britain France Italy Germany
four
countries

1 United States United States Australia United States United States
2 Australia Australia Canada Australia Australia
3 Canada* New Zealand Italy Polynesia New Zealand
4 New Zealand* Canada United States Spain Spain*
5 Spain Italy Spain Egypt Canada*
6 Italy Egypt Egypt* Caribbean Italy
7 Egypt Japan Greece* UK Greece
8 Greece Maldives Brazil France Norway
9 Japan Spain Tahiti* Mexico France
10 Maldives China* Mexico* Greece Dubai
11 Mexico South Africa* Ireland Japan Maldives
12 Polynesia Greece Morocco Brazil Egypt*
13 France India* Polynesia Maldives Thailand*
14 China Seychelles* Vietnam New Zealand Seychelles
15 Thailand Mexico Croatia India Portugal

* tied

TABLE 4

EUROPEANS’ FAVORITE COUNTRIES FOR VACATION – SUMMARY BY REGION “If you could spend a holiday in any country in the world and you did not have

to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose outside of … ?”

Base: All Adults in Four European Countries

Overall Great France Italy Germany
for Britain
four
countries
% % % % %

A country in the Asia or 31 35 24 32 29
Pacific region
A country in the Americas 31 34 28 34 27
or Caribbean
A European country 23 17 28 22 31
A country in Africa or the
Middle East 12 11 15 10 13
Other country 2 1 4 2 1
None 1 2 * * 1
Not sure/refused * * * 1 *

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

* Less than 0.5 percent.

Methodology

For U.S. Study

The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between July 12 and 18, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 2,339 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, 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.

Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.

For the European Study

HI Europe conducted the online survey between July 7 and 15, 2005 among a total of 5,237 adults aged 16 and over in the following countries: Great Britain (2,005), France (1,088), Germany (1,075) and Italy (1,069). Figures for region, age, sex, education and 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.

Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with samples of this size, HI Europe estimates with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points in France, Germany and Italy and 2 percentage points in GB. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. These online samples were not probability samples.

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

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About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 13th largest market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, NY-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through its U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries, HI Europe in London (www.hieurope.com), Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to participate in future online surveys, www.harrispollonline.com.

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