Lonely Planet Writer

These tourist destinations are gaining popularity with US travellers

Want to beat the crowds to the latest up-and-coming tourist destinations? Then you’ll want to start planning soon.

Panoramic view of Netanya city, Israel. Image by ©vvvita/Shutterstock

There are five international destinations seeing a huge boost from American travellers, according to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth. Among the customers who purchased their insurance through the company, Israel is the fastest-growing destination, with a near 50% boost in travellers since last year.

Icelandic horses, Saudarkrokur. Image by ©Gary Latham/Lonely Planet

Just behind Israel was the ever-popular Iceland. In fact, the incredible land of volcanoes and lagoons has reported that it now sees more American tourists visit in a year than the country has citizens. Overall, there’s been a nearly 43% in those buying travel insurance for the country through Squaremouth. Behind that is Portugal with a 42% increase. With hip Lisbon and romantic Porto – as well as boasting the Duoro wine region and plenty of beautiful coastline – it’s no surprise that the country is seeing a boom.

In the gardens of the Quinta Da Regaleira in Sintra Portugal, you will find the initiation well. This well was never used a water source, instead, it was used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. Image by ©Dale Johnson/500px

The fourth-fastest growing destination is Vietnam, with a growth of 39%, followed by Norway with a growth of 36%. While Norway might not have the highest spike in visitors, Squaremouth reports that is has seen a significant increase in travel spending.  In fact, travellers heading to Norway spend almost twice as much as those going to the other top destinations, an increase of 12% over the past year. People heading to Iceland also saw their costs rise about 20% over the last year, while Portugal became more of a deal with a 10% drop in the average cost of a trip.

While the stats only apply to US travellers who purchased insurance with Squaremouth, last year the World Tourism Organization released its list of the fastest-growing tourist destinations globally. That study found that Sierra Leone saw the biggest surge in travellers, a fact that was attributed to the end of the Ebola outbreak in the country in 2015. It was followed by Nepal and Iceland.