Which foreign cities do Americans prefer to visit? Which American cities do foreigners prefer to visit? These are the duel questions behind the new Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com, which looks at statistics from 2013 to predict trends in 2014.
For American travelers, Hotels.com found that border hops were particularly enticing last year. In fact, the biggest cities in both Canada and Mexico attracted hordes of new visitors, in part, thanks to a stronger dollar.
The most favorable exchange rate in three years helped Toronto surpass Rome as the third most popular international destination for the first time since 2010. Mexico City, meanwhile, crept into the top 20 list for the first time at No. 17 thanks to a strong “Live it to believe it” consumer marketing campaign touting the extensive culinary and cultural scene in Latin America’s largest metropolis.
While London, Paris and Barcelona remained perennial favorites in 2013, the glitz and glam of Dubai was enough to send the ambitious emirate shooting to the top of many Americans’ bucket lists. Indeed, Dubai usurped Madrid, Florence and Venice as the 14th most popular destination for U.S. travelers.
Similarly, Hotels.com said strong gains in popularity in Tokyo (No. 6), Hong Kong (No. 7) and Bangkok (No. 11) signaled the American market’s growing interest in Asia-Pacific travel.
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While the global preferences of American travelers seem to shift with the wind each year, most international tourists have a good grasp on which cities they want to visit in the U.S.
“The top U.S. destinations for international travelers remain consistent with just slight shifts in the ranking of a few cities,” Hotels.com travel expert Taylor L. Cole explained in an email.
Cole noted that the usual suspects like New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami and Los Angeles continued to dominate the international market. “It’s no secret that these cities appeal to travelers with a variety of interests and with major events like the Super Bowl in New York and South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in Miami. They’ll continue to attract a significant percentage of tourists” in the New Year.
One surprise in 2013 was Hollywood. “Hollywood finally broke into the Top 20 for the first time since 2010 and we anticipate a further increase in popularity for 2014,” Cole said.
To come up with its forecast, Hotels.com tracked the real prices users paid per room, per night around the world using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of its markets. The resulting Hotel Price Index is considered one of the most comprehensive benchmarks available for tracking global tourism trends, using a sample set of more than 150,000 properties around the world.
Scroll through the slideshow above for a complete look at the top 20 U.S. destinations favored by international travelers in 2013.