Travel marketing: 5 observations about Forbes’ list of top tourist attractions

Times Square has it all: color, light, crowds and awe-inspiring sights

Forbes latest “Top 25 most-visited tourist attractions” tells you a lot about how Americans like to unwind in their free time.

Five clear patterns emerge about what Americans like to do with their free time:

  1. Americans like to get lost in crowds:  From Times Square to Walt Disney World to Waikiki Beach, close to three-quarters of the top attractions draw large clusters of people every day.
  2. Americans like to lose their breath: 10 attractions feature natural or man-made wonders.
  3. Americans like to be blinded by the light: A fourth of all attractions feature lots of blinking or colorful lights.
  4. Americans like brain food: A third of the attractions teach people about history, nature or art.
  5. Americans like to get their feet wet: More than half  of the attractions are either near the water or have a water feature built-in.

Here’s this year’s Forbes list, with the total number of annual visitors at each attraction:

1. Times Square, New York, N.Y.–37.6 million visitors

2. Las Vegas Strip Las Vegas, Nev.–29.1 million visitors

3. National Mall and Memorial Parks Washington, D.C.–25 million visitors

4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace Boston, MA–19 million visitors

5. Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL–17.1 million visitors

6. Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco Bay Area, CA–17 million

7. Disneyland Resort Anaheim, CA–14.7 million visitors

8. Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco, CA–10 million (tie)

8. Hollywood Walk of Fame Los Angeles, CA–10 million visitors (tie)

10. Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park North Carolina & Tennessee–9.5 million

11. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Ariz./NV–7.6 million

12. Universal Studios Orlando/Universal Orlando, FL–6.2 million visitors

13. SeaWorld Florida, Orlando, FL–5.8 million visitors

14. San Antonio River Walk, Texas–5.1 million visitors

15. Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT–5 million visitors

16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Penn./N.J.–5 million visitors

17. Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA–5 million visitors

18. Metropolitan Museum, New York, N.Y–4.5 million visitors

19. Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii–4.5 million visitors

20. Grand Canyon, AZ–4.5 million visitors

21. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa Bay, FL–4.4 million visitors

22. Cape Cod National Seashore, MA–4 million visitors

23. SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, CA–4 million visitors

24. American Museum of Natural History, NY–4 million visitors

25. Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey–4 million visitors

That’s what I noticed. Tell me what patterns you see? What are you doing to attract visitors to your destination?

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One Response to Travel marketing: 5 observations about Forbes’ list of top tourist attractions

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