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London's Millennium Dome  

What's hot for summer vacations

May 9, 2000
Web posted at: 4:55 p.m. EDT (2055 GMT)

Editor's note: This is the second in a five-part series for National Tourism Week

(CNN) -- If you're planning a summer vacation, you might be curious to know where everyone else is going -- either because you're after the best bargains or you want to avoid the crowds.

Here's a look at some hot destinations:

Europe | South America | Central America, Mexico | United States


Europe

For citizens of the United States, Europe is traditionally the great summertime destination, says Dana Dickey of Conde Nast Traveler.

"It's easy to get to," she says. "There's a great tourism infrastructure and there's lots of history."

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    London has the old standbys -- Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace -- plus the Millennium Dome, which is open only this year.

    Italy still beckons those in search of la dolce vita, the sweet life. The rustic landscapes and sprawling vineyards of Tuscany in western Italy are especially popular.

    A weak euro is particularly attractive to budget travelers, says Travel & Leisure Magazine's Nathan Lump.

    "Europe is indeed cheaper than it has been in a very, very long time," he says. "The dollar is very strong and ... will buy 20 percent more than it did last year this time."

    Rio de Janeiro  

    South America

    South America is another summer destination getting a lot of attention, especially Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's Carnaval capital.

    "South America is definitely more popular than ever before," Lump says. "It's on everybody's list. And partially, it's because of the explosion of Latin culture in this country (the United States).

    "It's one of the best places in the world to do things like horseback riding, hiking and whitewater rafting."

    Cancun, Mexico  

    Central America, Mexico

    Travelers wanting to relax in natural surroundings should consider Belize, which Conde Nast Traveler calls Central America's next big ecotourism destination. It joins Costa Rica as a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts.

    Farther north, the beaches in Cancun, Mexico, are drawing crowds. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) says Cancun ranked No. 1 in a survey of 500 U.S. travel agents, excluding the usual chart-topping hot spots of London, Paris and Rome.

    Following Cancun, the next most popular destinations in the survey were Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Frankfurt, Germany; Madrid, Spain; and Dublin, Ireland.

    Phoenix  

    United States

    In the United States, Las Vegas remains a winner, say industry analysts. Other popular destinations are New York and Orlando, Florida -- home to Walt Disney World.

    Also on the list are Phoenix, New Orleans, San Diego, Hawaii and Los Angeles.

    "Phoenix has become a golfing destination," says ASTA's Dina Long. "And golf travel for this particular season is very, very popular."



    RELATED RESOURCES:
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    RELATED STORIES:
    Weak euro means strong tourism
    April 28, 2000
    Hot destinations for 2000 and beyond
    January 2000

    RELATED SITES:
    Conde Nast Traveler
    Travel & Leisure Magazine
    American Society of Travel Agents

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