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ASTA, Fodor’s survey shows travelers return to favorite domestic and international destinations for winter

Travelers are continuing to visit their favorite destinations, despite the uncertainty of the U.S. economy and international politics…

Travelers are continuing to visit their favorite destinations, despite the uncertainty of the U.S. economy and international politics. Orlando, New York City and Miami — all long-time favorites — have regained popularity as winter destinations for 2003, according to the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA)/Fodor’s Winter Hot Spots Survey.



Orlando regained its position as the most popular domestic destination for the 2002-2003 winter season. Among the ASTA-member travel agents polled, 23.6 percent are booking Orlando for the winter months, while 20.3 percent are booking last year’s top spot, Las Vegas. New York City is again in the top three, taking over from Hawaii, with 7.2 percent of responses. The top five is rounded out by Miami and Honolulu, with 5.4 and 4.9 percent of the vote, respectively.



Americans are facing some difficult times, with a soft economy and the potential of international conflicts. Despite this, they are still returning to the destinations they love, year after year. Americans have shown, and will continue to show, how much they value the freedom to travel and the travel experience, said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC.



Completing the top ten destinations are Phoenix (4.1 %), San Francisco (3.9 %), Denver (3.6 %), Los Angeles (2.6 %), and New Orleans (2.6 %). Florida is the most popular state for winter travel, accounting for 36.1 percent of all responses. In second place is Nevada, with 21 percent of the vote. Other popular states for winter travel include California, Hawaii and Colorado.



International Travel



The top five international destinations kept the same positions as last year. London is the number one international destination for the winter season with 19.3 percent of total responses. Cancun comes in second with 16.1 percent. Paris and Rome take third and fourth place with 12.6 and 7.5 percent, respectively. New to the international top 10 are Cozumel and Dublin, sharing 10th place. These cities moved up from 25th and 19th place last year.



Winter is a great time to visit these perennial favorites, said Bonnie Ammer, president and publisher of Fodor’s Travel Publications. Americans will continue to travel. New lodging, dining and a host of new attractions, and revitalized and refreshed old favorites, guarantee that even veteran travelers will feel more like first time visitors with much to see and experience in these celebrated destinations.



While London continues to be the most popular international city among Americans, Mexico is their favorite country to travel to outside the United States during the winter season,
Copland said. With cities like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel and Mexico City, Mexico has much to offer Americans.



Mexico received 25.1 percent of all responses, while the United Kingdom and France followed with 19.3 and 12.8 percent, respectively.

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