NEW YORK -- Las Vegas emerged as the best-selling domestic tour
destination in a survey conducted by the U.S. Tour Operators
Association of its 57 members.
The city is a newcomer to the hottest-selling domestic field. It
unseated Orlando, Fla., which had been the top-ranked city for
several years. Orlando placed second this year.
The survey is conducted each year; USTOA's member firms
represent 122 brands and account for $5 billion in annual
The poll, conducted before the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia
began, listed Italy as the hottest-selling international
destination for the fifth consecutive year.
Second place among international destinations was China,
followed by Australia and Spain. France, which usually ranks in the
top four, was surpassed by Spain this year.
South and Central America are the international areas where tour
operators said they expect the biggest growth, followed by the
South Pacific. Italy and Mexico were cited as the two single
countries expected to experience the greatest growth.
Among domestic destinations, operators said Las Vegas and
Florida would experience the biggest growth.
The survey found that operators believe a strong U.S. dollar
will help Canada. Members estimated that bookings would rise
between 5% and 20% this year. About 60% of respondents said their
1999 prices to Canada were down by as much as 7%.
Operators said Asia prices are lower this year, with 80%
reporting prices an average of 11% lower than in 1998.
More than 90% of operators said domestic package and tour prices
remained either unchanged or slightly higher this year. Seventy
percent said international prices for tours and packages were the
same or slightly higher. Average increases for domestic and
international packages were 5% to 6% over 1998.
Among the new destinations for USTOA operators, Morocco was
among the most popular, with three operators adding the country to
Asked about trends, members reported that the move to shorter
vacations and to more packages and tours with individual components
continued to gain momentum.
Two-thirds of operators now offer long-weekend packages.