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RISMEDIA, July 30, 2010—It’s a fantasy everyone has—if money was no object, think of the one place you would want to go on vacation. Some might choose a historic location, for others, a far-away beach getaway or maybe a romantic second honeymoon. For Americans, if they could vacation in any country in the world, outside the U.S. without any worry about the cost, Italy would be the number one country, up from number 2 on the list last year. Australia drops from number 1 to number 2 this year; only the second time since 1997 it has left the top spot.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Moving up to number 3 from 5th last year is Ireland, while Great Britain drops one spot to 4th and France drops one spot to 5th on the list this year. Rounding out the top ten, in a tie for 6th is Greece (up from 8th last year) and Germany (6th last year); Japan is number 8 (down from number 7); Spain moves up one spot to number 9; and New Zealand moves down one spot to number 10. Looking a little further into the list, Israel returns to the list for the first time since 2001 at number 11, followed by Canada at number 12 (down from number 11) and Mexico at number 13 again this year. The Netherlands debuts on the vacation destination list at number 14 and Switzerland is at number 15, down from 12th on the list last year.

Two countries dropped off the list this year—Brazil, which was number 14 last year and Jamaica, which was number 15.

The poll also shows that men and women have different favorites. For men, Australia is number one, while for women, Italy takes the top spot. There are also differences by generation. Echo Boomers (those 18-33) and Baby Boomers (those 46-64) choose Italy as their top vacation destination. However, for Gen Xers (those 34-45) and Matures (those 65 and older), Australia is number one.

It is also possible to look at the top countries chosen by geographic region. By region, almost half of Americans (49%) choose a country in Europe, while one-quarter (24%) choose a destination in Asia or the Pacific region. Just over one in ten U.S. adults (11%) pick a country in the Americas or the Caribbean, while 4% choose a country in Africa and 3% choose one in the Middle East. There is also a small percentage of people (7%) who wouldn’t go anywhere outside the U.S., more than last year (4%).

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