The Travel Professor
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

World's Best Destinations

The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) has just issued its first World’s Best list, ranking destinations in a variety of categories. Italy took top honors as best destination in four categories -- architecture, walking, romance, and culinary/wine experience. The country also trailed just behind France as best for art and culture, with France second as best destination for a romantic vacation. London placed first for entertainment, with New York and Rio de Janeiro closely tied for the second spot. However, New York edged out both Hong Kong and Italy as best shopping destination. Winning destinations were based on informal rankings by more than 50 of the top companies arranging vacation experiences, tours, and packages worldwide.

The USTOA 2010 Rankings for World’s Best Destination were as follows: for adventure, soft adventure -- Costa Rica and New Zealand; for architecture -- Italy (cited by nearly 55 percent of respondents) and Spain (cited by some 30 percent); for art and culture -- France (cited by more than 50 percent) and Italy (cited by 40 percent); for entertainment -- London, New York and Rio de Janiero; for history -- Egypt, the U.K. and Israel; for romance -- Italy (cited by 50 percent) and France (cited by more than 40 percent); for shopping -- New York City (cited by one-third of respondents), Hong Kong (cited by nearly 30 percent) and Italy (cited by 25 percent); for walking -- Italy, U.S. Western National Parks and Prague; and for wine, dining and culinary experience: Italy (cited by 45 percent), France (cited by 20 percent), Spain (cited by 13 percent) and Napa Valley (cited by 12 percent).

USTOA members provide vacation arrangements for more than 11 million people yearly. The association’s members must meet the travel industry’s highest requirements, including participation in the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program, which requires, among other things, that each Active Member set aside $1 million security to protect consumer deposits and payment in the event the company goes out of business.

For more information and to obtain a list of USTOA members and destinations that they offer visit your local travel agent.

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