South America most desirable destination

South America has been voted as the most desirable destination to visit in the world for backpackers and travellers, beating the USA and Canada to the top spot.

According to a TNT Travel Show survey, 1000 18 to 35-year-olds were asked what country they would most like to travel to in 2012, and over 16% of young travellers said South America topped their wish list. The USA was second with 15% and Canada third with 7%.

When asked about their travel plans for 2012, almost 60% of respondents said Continental Europe is on their map, with France, Italy and Spain being the most popular countries to travel to, while 50% are vowing to see more of the UK.

Kevin Ellis, CEO of the TNT Travel Show, said: "The stars and stripes has often dominated in surveys of younger travellers, but what's clear from our poll is that south is the new north.

"Backpackers are streaming everywhere from the Amazon to the Andes to grab a bit of the region's awe-inspiring culture, history and scenic showstoppers. It's truly an 'Amazon' outcome to our poll!"

Andrew Tipp, communications manager of gapyear.com, said: "I spent six months backpacking through South America; from the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Inca ruins of Peru to the Salt Plains of Bolivia and thriving party scene in Buenos Aires; South America is full of inspiring gap year experiences."

He added: "It's great to see the trend of more travellers wanting to go there. Hopefully this will continue and we'll see increasing numbers of backpackers visiting this amazing continent."

The survey results have been released prior to the TNT Travel Show 2012, which takes place at Earl's Court on 3rd March and is London's biggest free travel show.

Andrew Tipp will be part of gapyear.com's presentation on 'How To Plan Your Big Adventure' at the TNT Travel Show.

"The talk will be packed with gap year ideas and advice, as well as helpful tips and hints on planning your travels," said Andrew.  "It'll be an exciting day and we hope to see lots of gappers there! There may even be a prize or two up for grabs!"

Budget may also be a factor influencing South America's popularity. David Forder, head of marketing for Flight Centre, said: "Exciting times for travelling around South America.

"In recent months, Flight Centre has seen ticket prices for people travelling from the UK come under the £500 mark. This is really significant in making it an affordable destination.

"With prices to North America rising towards £500, the gap between these destinations is closing. Young travellers love the vibrancy of South America and it's now something they can experience without breaking the bank."

What do you think of the survey results? Is South America now the hottest place to visit? And are we going to see you at the TNT Travel Show?