DUBLIN, June 24—World cup and wallet friendly destinations are the deciding factors for travel decisions of North Americans in 2010 according to data* released by Hostelworld.com, the leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. Hostelworld.com revealed that destinations in Asia are experiencing significant growth in bookings compared to the same time period last year, while select cities in the United States are also seeing an increase in visitors. The World Cup is also resulting in a surge of bookings in South Africa.

World Cup Fever!

South Africa is seeing the largest increase in travel bookings in 2010, largely as a result of the growing popularity of the World Cup among the North American audience. Compared to 2009, U.S. bookings to South Africa have increased by a tremendous 596%. Equally impressive, Canadian bookings to South Africa have increased by 550% during the same time frame.

More Bang for Your Buck!

Outside of South Africa, Asia dominates the destination landscape in 2010 for North Americans.   As travelers gravitate toward wallet-friendly destinations with favorable exchange rates, locations across Asia are reaping the benefits.

China experienced a surge in bookings by U.S. customers compared to the same period in 2009, with Shanghai and Hong Kong bookings up 73 percent and 34 percent, respectively.   Bangkok and Beijing also saw an increase in bookings over 2009 numbers with increases of 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Canadian travelers mimicked their U.S. counterparts by increasing in travel to Asia.

Shanghai saw an 84 percent rise in Hostelworld.com, with Kuala Lumpur experiencing a 26 percent increase. Istanbul and Bangkok followed with growth of 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

There’s No Place Like Home

It appears that many North Americans are staying closer to home, proving that “staycations” continue to be an attractive vacation option, as both U.S. and Canadian vacationers have increased travel to destinations across North America.

Popular North American destinations for U.S. travelers include New Orleans, where bookings were up by 45 percent, and San Jose, which has seen a 42 percent rise in bookings. New York and Miami remain popular vacation destinations up 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

Again, Canadian travelers followed the lead of their U.S. neighbors and stayed close to home, increasing their travel to popular North American destinations such as Miami, up 35 percent, San Jose, up 33 percent and Vancouver, up 29 percent.

“The economy and the World Cup appear to be the two biggest factors influencing travel plans in 2010,” said Hostelworld.com spokesperson Aisling White. “North American travelers are choosing to stay close to home to lessen their travel expenses or they are heading to select destinations in Asia where their dollar can stretch further. It’s also evident that interest in the World Cup is growing in the United States, as trips to South Africa have exploded in popularity.”

* All data is compiled from Hostelworld.com bookings, YTD 2009 to YTD 2010

About Hostelworld.com

The global market leader for 10 years, Hostelworld.com is the leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. It offers confirmed online reservations for over 24,000 hostels and budget hotels in 186 countries worldwide.

The site also offers budget travelers Travel Services, over 3 million user reviews, free travel videos, podcasts, customized city guides, a travel social network and more.

Hostelworld.com is headquartered in Dublin and is fully owned and operated by Web Reservations International Ltd (WRI)

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