U.S. is most popular travel destination for world travelers, survey finds

Australia, US and Italy were top "wish list" destinations

The U.S. is the most popular destination for world travelers. But if money were not a concern, more travelers would rather visit Australia, according to a new survey on the global travel economy.

The survey of more than 44,000 travelers from around the world also found that 67% of U.S. travelers plan to take an international leisure trip this year, up from 50% who reported taking such a trip last year.

Still, the travel budget of the average American traveler is expected to be $8,700 this year, about the same as last year, according to the online survey by the travel website TripAdvisor.

The U.S. was the most popular destination for world travelers in 2014 and for travel plans in 2015, according to the survey. But when asked which destination they would visit if money were no object, Australia took the top spot, followed by the U.S. and Italy.

The cost of travel may be going up. Half of all hotels globally and 59% of U.S. hotels said they plan to increase their room rates this year, with more than one-third of global accommodations and 42% of U.S. hotels planning to raise rates by up to 10%, according to the survey.

For the 40% of global travelers who said they planned to spend more in 2015 on travel, the top reasons were "going somewhere on my wish list" and "my family deserves it."

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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