Another g'day: Australia again tops U.S. travelers' wish lists

Oz rocks!

For the 11th consecutive year, Australia has bested every other country in the world as the destination Americans would most like to visit -- if they didn't have to worry about the cost.

Italy and Great Britain took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively, as they have every year since 2003. Rounding out the top five, France moved up a notch, trading places with Ireland.

Japan showed the most movement, breaking into the top by jumping from No. 11 to No. 7, right behind Germany.

Canada tumbled the other way, moving from the No. 7 spot to No. 11.

The Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil fell off the bottom of the 15-nation list, replaced by Egypt and China.

These are some of the results of the annual Harris Poll, an online survey of 2,372 U.S. adults conducted in June.

According to the survey data, the appeal of Australia (or the perception that it's an expensive trip) is strong across several demographic groups.

The destination ranked first among men and women, but men preferred Italy as their No. 2 while women preferred Great Britain.

Australia also led among all income groups, but Italy beat out Great Britain for second place among those with incomes above $50,000.

The Land Down Under was also the top pick among baby boomers (age 43 to 61) and Gen-Xers (31 to 42). Echo-boomers and matures preferred to travel to Italy and Great Britain, respectively, but both groups named Australia as the second choice.

Although Australia nabbed the top slot, the accompanying charts show that destinations in Europe dominate the list overall. According to the survey results, 50% of respondents said they would prefer a vacation in a European country, followed by the Asia/Pacific region at 25% and the Americas/Caribbean at 11%.

Harris Interactive provided no in-depth analysis of the data but observed that three of the top five countries, Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, are English-speaking.  

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