Italy is #1 Destination Choice for Americans


For 11 straight years, when Americans were asked what country they’d most like to visit if cost weren’t a factor, they ranked Australia at #1. Well, move over, koalas, there’s a new kid in town. For the first time, Italy is now ranked as the #1 vacation destination outside the United States.

The Harris Poll has asked the same question of participants since 1997: “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?” And until this year, Australia has always come out on top. Italy started out ranked 5th, and has hovered at 2nd for most of the last decade. But this year Australia has been forced into the #2 slot for the first time as Italy shoots to #1.

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Breaking down the statistics further, the poll indicates that:

  • Women chose Italy as their top choice more often, while men still chose Australia as their top choice.
  • Italy is the top choice for those aged 18-31 and those aged 63 and above, while Australia is the top choice for those aged 32-62.
  • This jump for Italy comes despite an overall drop in the number of people who would choose to go to a country in Europe as opposed to outside Europe.

I’m not sure why this makes me happy, but it does. Sure, it’s just a poll of where people would like to go, if money weren’t an issue, but it still gives me an opportunity to say Italy is #1 – and any chance I get to say that makes me a happy person, indeed.