America’s ‘best kept travel secret’: India now tops the list of the countries that welcome American visitors

At the end of last year, news hit the pages of popular travel publications that Trump’s travel ban would once again be in effect for more than a year.

In many countries, the ban is just the beginning of a different kind of barrier to Americans traveling abroad. For instance, it is not just visitors from Iran and Libya who are denied entry to the United States. Just as troubling, Australian tourism officials worry that visitors from the United States, who are subject to it as well, could be prevented from ever returning to Australia. In 2016, Australia was the sixth-largest destination for Americans traveling abroad.

One country, India, not only took the top spot, but for the fourth consecutive year, it is the No. 1 destination for U.S. travelers. (While the fact that tourism boomed in India didn’t help them, the problems of Malaysia are a testament to the need for travel restrictions.) And New Zealand is showing an increased interest from the United States as well. The NACTA New Zealand Australia Travel Market, held in November, drew 120 local and international members from the leisure travel industry.

Other countries welcoming visitors to the United States back include Finland, as well as Belgium, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, Poland, and the Netherlands. Most of these countries have seen a recent rise in hotel rooms and international visitors.

In fact, in a survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than 52 percent of travelers say they would definitely or probably be visiting another country or region in 2019, and nearly half of that number (47 percent) are considering a trip to the United States.

“The United States remains a top priority for travel in 2019 and beyond,” said Andrew Herdman, IATA’s director general and CEO, at the 2018 Global Airline Leaders Summit in Dallas. “Quality and service are still a priority for travelers. Bilateral flights, airfares and taxes remain a drag on our system, and for travelers on low-cost airfares, some of the United States-Canada-Mexico routes have just become more competitive.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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