Let’s file this one under “not surprising:” early indications point to Italy being the top international destination for U.S. travelers in 2024.
Europe, and Italy in particular, has enjoyed several blockbuster years, drawing tourists in droves as pandemic-era restrictions disappeared. And two new travel advisor surveys — one from First in Service (F1S), the other from American Marketing Group (AMG) — both put Italy in the top spot again for 2024.
“The ongoing desire among Americans to visit Italy simply can’t be overstated,” Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of F1S, said in a release. “It is as popular as ever.”
F1S advisors were asked in the survey to name the top three international locations they are booking for 2024. Italy was first with 46%, marking the third year in a row it was the top destination for F1S advisors’ clients.
Why is Italy so popular, though?
F1S advisors have some theories: It’s often portrayed in films; it has both well-known and off-the-beaten-path destinations, making it an ideal spot for repeat visits; and it offers a mix of history, food, wine, cities and beaches, all in one destination.
Other top international destinations for 2024 include, in order of most popular, France, the U.K., Japan, Croatia, Greece and Spain.
Travel to Japan surged this past year, and that popularity appears to be continuing, Gonzalez noted.
Alaska holds its own
AMG’s survey asked advisors for their top destinations, not just top international destinations, but only one domestic destination made it into the top five: Alaska at No. 2, just behind Italy. The list was rounded out by Greece, the Riviera Maya and Portugal.
“People’s sense of adventure has been awakened,” AMG chief marketing officer Nicole Mazza said in a release. “They’re hungry for far-flung international experiences. They want to spread their wings and try something they’ve never done, whether it’s a new place, new activity or new style of travel.”
With the popularity of countries like Italy soaring, alternative destinations have come to the forefront in recent years, as well. Oftentimes they are less crowded, especially at peak travel times in the summer, and sometimes they are less expensive, a draw for the more budget-conscious travelers.
Evidence that alternative destinations are on the rise appeared in the F1S survey. Croatia appeared on the list for the first time this year.
“It has emerged over the past decade as a prime alternative to Italy, thanks to its historic treasures like Dubrovnik and Split that are situated on the pristine Adriatic coast,” Gonzalez said.
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