Where Are Americans Headed for Summer Vacation?

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ASTA’s 2008 Summer Hot Spots Survey Reveals Top 10 Choices

Alexandria, Va., Feb. 12, 2008– For the sixth year running, Orlando (17.5%) and Las Vegas (15.4%) were named the most popular domestic summer travel destinations booked by travel agents, according to ASTA’s 2008 Hot Spots for Summer survey. Overseas, the top four international destination cities remained the same for the sixth year in a row with London receiving a 10.3 percent share of the vote followed by Rome (9%), Cancun (7.1%) and Paris (6.4%). 

“The fact that the cities in the top 10 have remained the same for several years is a testimony to their enduring popularity among U.S. travelers,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “As travel agents, we know the ins and outs of both emerging destinations as well as those that are tried and true and can help our clients discover something new and exciting no matter where they choose to travel.”

While the domestic destinations in the top 10 have remained the same since 2006, their rankings have not. New York City, for example, fell to seventh place after five years in the number three spot, with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami moving up two spaces each to numbers three, four and five respectively. Seattle moved up from number nine to number six in this year’s survey.

When looking at which states see the most summer travelers as booked by travel agents, not surprisingly, Florida again came out on top in 2008, accounting for 23.6 percent of all responses with cities such as Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. Nevada drew the second largest number of responses a 15.7 percent share with almost all the travel for Las Vegas. In 2007, Florida topped the top state destinations, accounting for 28.0 percent of all responses; Nevada drew the second largest number of responses a 19.2 percent share.

For Americans traveling abroad, Western European destinations are the most popular summer spots in 2008 with five cities coming in the top 10. Mexican destinations are the other major grouping in the international top 10 list.

Italy remained the top international country/region booked by U.S. travel agents with an 18.7 percent share. Mexico came in second with 16.1 percent, and the UK received a 12.5 percent share of the votes. The UK was second in previous years and both Italy and the UK had larger percentage shares in 2007 and in 2006 (see Exhibit 6 below), suggesting the weak dollar is shifting some travel away from Europe with Mexico and other locations not in the top five benefiting.

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