Where are American tourists headed now?
Friday, December 01, 2017
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), close to 51 million Americans traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Road trips featured prominently, but airports have been busy as well.
Reports from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office and U.S. Department of Commerce show that Americans are traveling more as they save on grocery and holiday meal expenses. So which places are attracting American tourists?
Studying patterns and trends for 2016, researchers have found out that Asia (11 percent) and the Pacific (13 percent) saw the biggest increases in American visitors. Canada, Mexico, Europe and South America fared well, too, each with an 8 percent increase in American tourists.
All in all, more than 80 million Americans traveled in 2016, and the numbers are growing.
Euro and the British Pound have tipped in favor of the U.S. dollar since Brexit, making Europe an affordable destination for Americans. The same could be said of the peso. But reports of crime and violence against tourists have created a negative impact on Mexico and its neighboring countries.
The U.S. released an official travel warning against certain parts of Mexico in August. Now many insurance companies are unwilling to offer coverage in these areas. Following these developments, there could be more than a 10 percent drop in footfalls.
However, farther south in Peru, footfalls have increased in its capital city. Once hailed as one of the most dangerous cities in South America, Lima is now a popular destination. Much of it has to do with its food culture. From street foods to famous chefs, every aspect of Lima's culinary scene has contributed to the rise of international tourism. Lima is now as much on the travelers' list, as are Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
According to travel experts, the little Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is expected to be one of the top travel destinations in 2018. Other names include Cuba, Portugal, Malta, Japan, Indonesia, Spain, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Netherlands and Scotland, among others. Switzerland remains a perennial favorite. Search and booking trends also show a lot of interest to visit the Terra do Fogo archipelago in Chile, Lake Bled in Slovenia, and to see the frozen waters of Lake Baikal in Russia.
Tunisia and Senegal seem to be top choices for those wanting to visit the majestic continent of Africa. Rwanda, with its tragic history, is a surprise entry to the list. It seems the new Rwandan government is determined to shed the violent past and is engaging in policies to improve tourism.
Similar efforts are being made by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries that deterred tourists, especially Americans. However, the U.S. government has just issued a travel warning for Saudi Arabia, which has a heightened risk for terror attacks during the holiday season.
Within the U.S., Louisiana and Utah seem to be getting popular. And traditional favorites like New York and Chicago are soaring as well.
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