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Chapter 2: Price Changes in Global City Destinations

Evening view of the Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Evening view of the Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Downtown, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Downtown, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple), Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple), Bangkok, Thailand

Night time in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Night time in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Americans’ Most Preferred International Destinations

This year, there has been little change when it comes to the top three international cities traveled to by Americans; London, Paris, and Rome remain the most popular. Vancouver and Toronto still round out the top five for 2011 so far. However, according to hotel prices paid in the first two quarters of this year, Toronto is now the slightly more popular of the two, thus claiming its new spot as the fourth most popular destination in the world among American travelers.

While other major European cities such as Madrid, Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, and Venice each moved up one to three spots in the hearts of American tourists, it is still the up-and-coming Asian cities of the East that continue to sweep U.S. travelers off their feet. In the first two quarters of 2011 alone, these destinations made enormous advances on the top 50 list – larger than those of any other region in the world. This is best exemplified by strides made by Beijing (up 12 spots), whose budget for tourism promotion is reportedly one of the highest in the world, with the goal of capitalizing on the global recognition it gained by hosting the Olympic Summer Games in 2008, an event that helped the city cultivate the quality of services that international travelers could expect. Bangkok (up 16 spots) and Seoul (up 15 spots) also rapidly gained popularity among U.S. travelers this year.

One rising star from 2010, that has made a dramatic drop to twenty-sixth place from its eighth place position last year, is Tokyo. Following the catastrophic earthquakes and tsunami that shook the country of Japan in March 2011, the once thriving business and cultural hub is now struggling to attract visitors. Although Tokyo is located nearly 200 miles south of the earthquake’s epicenter, it is still recovering from the devastating event and experiencing higher-than-normal radiation levels, which is of serious concern to many travelers as well as its residents.

Americans' Top 50 Favorite International Cities

Rank City
1 London
2 Paris
3 Rome
4 Toronto
5 Vancouver
6 Barcelona
7 Montreal
8 Hong Kong
9 Madrid
10 Cancun
11 Amsterdam
12 Florence
13 Venice
14 San Juan
15 Niagara Falls
16 Dublin
17 Bangkok
18 Shanghai
19 Prague
20 Beijing
21 Dubai
22 Riviera Maya
23 Munich
24 Singapore
25 Berlin
   
26 Tokyo
27 Mexico City
28 Istanbul
29 Copenhagen
30 Seoul
31 Milan
32 Carolina
33 Vienna
34 Los Cabos
35 Sydney
36 Buenos Aires
37 Athens
38 Punta Cana
39 Victoria
40 Vallarta
41 Stockholm
42 Brussels
43 Budapest
44 Rio De Janeiro
45 Edinburgh
46 Frankfurt
47 Phuket
48 St. Thomas
49 Montego Bay
50 Quebec