U.S. Traveler Advisory: Where in the World Is the Welcome Mat Still Out?

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

Author: D'Vera Cohn

07/02/2008 - The would-be American traveler abroad has many uncertainties to juggle: How much will the dollar be worth? Where will fuel prices go? Will airport security lines get any worse?

One question, though, can be answered with data from the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey: Where are we, as Americans, most likely to be welcomed? Where do they like us?

As it turns out, the countries that Americans most like to go to are, for the most part, countries that like Americans. The 2008 Pew Global Attitudes survey polled residents of 24 countries including the United States on a range of attitudes in the period between March 27 and April 21. In 14 foreign countries, a majority of respondents have a favorable view of Americans. (The United States itself, on the other hand, is well-regarded, on balance, in only nine foreign countries.)

How well do these results match up with the places that Americans like to go? The U.S. Commerce Department provides information on the most-visited nations, based on a survey of airlines. (The latest statistics, released June 30, are for 2007.) Comparing that list with the 2007 and 2008 Global Attitudes surveys reveals that in six of their 10 most popular foreign destinations Americans are well-liked. Opinion is mixed or negative in three nations, and ratings are not available for one country.

Among Americans' top 10 travel destinations, the nation in which they are most liked is Great Britain, where 70% of residents say they have a good opinion of their U.S. counterparts. Opinions of Americans also are high in France (64%), Germany (55%) and Japan (65%), which also rank among the top 10 nations visited by U.S. residents.

Two other most-visited nations, Canada and Italy, were not surveyed this year, but have a history of positive attitudes toward Americans. In the 2007 Global Attitudes survey, most respondents in both nations expressed favorable attitudes about Americans -- 76% in Canada and 62% in Italy.

Read the complete findings U.S. Traveler Advisory: Where in the World Is the Welcome Mat Still Out? on the Pew Research Center Web site.

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