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Chapter 4: Americans' Travel Habits

Istanbul saw the biggest jump in U.S. travel

San Antonio is another city in Texas that is moving up the ranks

Austin hosts major events year-round

The two most popular domestic destinations – Las Vegas and New York City – saw minimal price increases of less than 3% from 2011 to 2012, while two California cities saw the highest average rate increases among the 20 Most Popular Cities. San Francisco, which finished atop Businessweek.com’s 2012 best cities rankings, remained as the seventh most popular domestic destination despite seeing rates increase by 12%. Anaheim, home to Disneyland and the city with the smallest population among the Top 20, fell four spots after being the 16th most popular destination in 2011.

Fueled by the return of Formula 1 racing to the U.S., the Austin-San Antonio corridor attracted more domestic travelers in 2012. Austin hosted the first U.S. Formula 1 race in five years in November and is also home to a number of major music festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits. The city jumped three spots to the 17th most popular domestic destination and saw average rates increase by 9% as a likely result of the major events. San Antonio, located about 80 miles southwest of Austin, moved from the 13th to the 10th spot, knocking Miami out of the Top 10. The city has experienced a burgeoning spring break scene in recent years and its expanded airport recently became the 10th-largest U.S. gateway to Mexico.

Internationally, the top five destinations for Americans remained the same with London, Paris and Rome leading the way. Tokyo ’s travel economy continued to rebound following 2011’s tragic tsunami, as the city moved up six spots to become the ninth most popular international destination for Americans. The city to see the biggest jump in U.S. travel was Istanbul, which cracked the top 20 as the 19th most popular international destination. Turkey’s largest city may indeed be the 'World's Hippest City,' as its ever-growing food and nightlife scene has helped it surpass 14 cities on the list of most popular international destinations for Americans since it was 33rd in 2010.

Top Domestic Destinations for Americans

Rank City State
1 Las Vegas NV
2 New York City NY
3 Orlando FL
4 Los Angeles CA
5 Chicago IL
6 San Diego CA
7 San Francisco CA
8 Washington DC
9 Houston TX
10 San Antonio TX
11 Boston MA
12 Atlanta GA
13 Miami FL
14 New Orleans LA
15 Dallas TX
16 Philadelphia PA
17 Austin TX
18 Seattle WA
19 Denver CO
20 Anaheim CA

Top International Destinations for Americans

Rank City Country
1 London United Kingdom
2 Paris France
3 Rome Italy
4 Toronto Canada
5 Vancouver Canada
6 Barcelona Spain & Canary Islands
7 Montreal Canada
8 Hong Kong Hong Kong
9 Tokyo Japan
10 Niagara Falls Canada
11 Amsterdam Netherlands
12 San Juan Puerto Rico
13 Madrid Spain & Canary Islands
14 Bangkok Thailand
15 Venice Italy
16 Florence Italy
17 Dubai United Arab Emirates
18 Dublin Ireland
19 Istanbul Turkey
20 Singapore Singapore