Italy, Australia Top Fantasy Destinations

If money and time were no object, most travelers would choose Italy as their top destination for 2013.

Italy took top honors no doubt thanks to the images of romance, history, fine food and great wine that the destination usually conjures up, according to a recent survey of 875 and Travelzoo users. Respondents were asked where they would most like to travel to in 2013.

On the heels of Italy: Australia, and then New Zealand. Europe did sweep in for additional appearances in the top five, with the U.K. and France tying for fourth place. (Twice as many survey respondents chose Italy over the U.K. and France combined.)

Ireland scored seventh and Spain eighth in the top 10, followed by Fiji (9) and South Africa (10).

The survey revealed that many Americans still prefer to visit and explore the many wonders of their own country. As a region, North America narrowly missed out on Asia’s spot at third place. The U.S. ranked sixth among one of the most desired destination countries in the world.

In Asia, India edged out other countries to take the top spot for that region. The combined popularity of India, Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam also helped propel Asia to be the third-most desired region to visit among those surveyed. No individual Asian country, however, was able to secure a spot among the Top 10 most desired destinations.

Among the world’s other regions, Brazil beat Peru for the No. 1 position among South American countries, and Israel elbowed Turkey as the most desired destination in the Middle East.

In the Caribbean, Jamaica edged out the U.S. Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos islands and the Bahamas. Costa Rica was the clear winner in the survey for Central America, and South Africa swept survey results for Africa.