Gelato, Trevi Fountain, and The Duomo – Italy is the Country Americans Would Choose For a Vacation If Cost Was Not a Factor

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – July 23, 2014 – It’s the dream many Americans have – to travel to another country for a vacation without worrying about the cost. Would you sit on the beaches in South America? Would you travel the historical roads in Europe? Or would it be an Asian adventure?

    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 third time 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 10 times this question has been asked.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,241 adults, surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014.

    This year Australia comes in at the number 2 spot, up one spot from 2011, followed by Great Britain in 3rd, down one spot from last time. Rounding out this year’s top five are France at number 4 and Ireland at number 5, a flip of the spots they held in 2011.

    Looking at the rest of the top ten most desired vacation spots, Germany moves up 2 spots to number 6 followed by a visit to our neighbor to the north, Canada, which moves up three spots to number 7. In at number 8 is a trip to Japan, up one spot from 2011. There is a tie for the number 9 country – Spain, which moves down from the 7th position and New Zealand which moves up from number 11.

    Two countries come back to the list this year. Mexico returns in the number 12 spot and they were last on the list in 2010 at number 13. The Bahamas returns in the 15th spot and they were last on the list in 2008 at number 14. The two countries that dropped off the top 15 this year are Israel who was number 13 and China who was number 15.

    Looking at the chosen countries for vacation, half of Americans would choose somewhere in Europe (50%), two in five would choose to go to a country in Asia or the Pacific region (20%), while one in ten prefer a country in the Americas or Caribbean (10%). Much smaller numbers say they would choose to vacation in Africa (3%) or a Middle Eastern country (2%), while 3% say they would not leave the U.S. and 4% are not sure where they would choose to go.

    Surprisingly, for the most part, different groups of people do not have different vacation priorities. Both men and women say Italy followed by Australia are the two countries where they would want to go. They then have the same three countries afterwards, but it is Great Britain, Ireland and France for men and France, Great Britain and Ireland for women.

    Generationally, there is a little more difference in vacation preferences. For Millennials it is Italy, followed by Great Britain while for Baby Boomers, it is Australia followed by Italy. For both Gen Xers and Matures, the top two countries they would want to vacation in are Italy followed by Australia.

    To see the full list of top vacation destinations and other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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    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

    ’11

    ’14

    Italy

    5

    4

    4

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales)

    2

    2

    2

    4

    3

    2

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    Australia

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    3

    2

    Ireland

    7

    6

    7

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    4

    4

    5

    5

    5

    3

    4

    5

    France

    3

    3

    5

    3

    4

    6

    4

    4

    5

    5

    4

    4

    4

    5

    5

    4

    Greece

    =11

    14

    11

    =14

    =14

    =14

    10

    14

    =8

    9

    10

    6

    8

    =6

    6

    11

    Spain

    *

    11

    12

    11

    =12

    11

    9

    9

    12

    12

    9

    10

    10

    9

    7

    =9

    Germany

    4

    5

    3

    6

    5

    7

    6

    6

    6

    6

    6

    8

    6

    =6

    8

    6

    Japan

    =13

    10

    =13

    13

    10

    *

    8

    =11

    =8

    11

    7

    7

    7

    8

    9

    8

    Canada

    6

    7

    6

    7

    9

    4

    =12

    7

    7

    7

    11

    9

    11

    12

    10

    7

    New Zealand

    =13

    15

    =13

    =14

    =14

    13

    7

    8

    11

    8

    8

    11

    9

    10

    11

    =9

    Switzerland

    9

    8

    =9

    =8

    8

    8

    11

    =11

    10

    13

    13

    12

    12

    15

    12

    13

    Mexico

    8

    9

    =9

    =8

    =12

    12

    =12

    10

    13

    10

    12

    13

    13

    13

    *

    12

    Brazil

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    =15

    *

    *

    14

    *

    14

    14

    Bahamas

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    15

    14

    *

    14

    *

    *

    *

    15

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

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

    Israel (was # 13), China (was # 15)

     

    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

    Millennials (18 to 36)

    Gen X
    (37 to 48)

    Baby Boomers (49 to 67)

    Matures (68+)

    Men

    Women

    1

    Italy

    Italy

    Australia

    Italy

    Italy

    Italy

    2

    Great Britain

    Australia

    Italy

    Australia

    Australia

    Australia

    3

    France

    Great Britain

    Great Britain

    Great Britain

    Great Britain

    France

    4

    Australia

    France

    France

    Germany

    Ireland

    Great Britain

    5

    Ireland

    Ireland

    Ireland

    France

    France

    Ireland

    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

    ’00

    ’01

    ’02

    ’03

    ’04

    ’05

    ’06

    ’07

    ’08

    ’09

    ’10

    ’11

    ’14

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    A European country

    48

    44

    46

    50

    51

    50

    51

    50

    48

    50

    49

    53

    50

    A country in the Asia or Pacific region

    24

    22

    18

    25

    26

    26

    26

    25

    24

    24

    24

    19

    20

    A country in the Americas or Caribbean

    13

    17

    19

    12

    13

    12

    14

    11

    15

    15

    11

    10

    10

    A country in Africa

    3

    3

    2

    2

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    A country in the Middle East

    3

    4

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    3

    2

    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

    3

    Not sure/refused

    5

    3

    8

    3

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    2

    2

    6

    4

    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 June 11 and 16, 2014 among 2,241 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

    The Harris Poll #71, July 23, 2014

    By Regina A. Corso, VP, Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

    About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

    On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.