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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Maybe it's the beaches or possibly the food but Australia and Japan were on Wednesday named the most desirable holiday destinations in the Asia Pacific in an annual survey while China replaced Hong Kong in third place.
An online poll of 6,714 travelers from 13 key Asia Pacific travel source markets, by market research group Nielsen, found 40 percent of respondents would consider going to Australia or Japan in the next two years.
Asked to name the most likely destination for their next Asia Pacific holiday, 17 percent named Australia, 16 percent Japan and 9 percent China. Last year Hong Kong was third with 9 percent.
"With the allure of visiting new places, beautiful natural scenery, affordability and great food the predominant factors in what motivates people to pick a destination, the all-round tourism products in these destinations puts them high on any traveler's list," said Ross Jackson, head of cross-border business at Asia Pacific Visa which commissioned the survey.
The survey on Asia Pacific travel intentions, commissioned jointly with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), found Australia was most popular with neighboring New Zealanders where 59 percent picked it as their most likely destination.
British travelers came second with 29 percent opting for Australia above all others then Japan with 17 percent most likely to choose the land "down under."
Japan was the top pick for holidaymakers from South Korea with 38 percent naming it as their most likely vacation destination followed by 34 percent of Taiwanese, 26 percent of Thais, and 22 percent of people from Hong Kong.
The survey, which also involved participants in India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States, found nearly half of travelers, or 47 percent, arranged their own trips by booking directly with hotels and airlines.
Self-organized travel was the top style for people from the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.
But Chinese holidaymakers were most likely to book packaged group tours.
Australian travelers were most likely to take the longest trips, with 23 percent saying their past holidays lasted more than 20 nights.
PATA CEO Greg Duffell said it was important for destinations and product marketers to find out about people's travel intentions.
"Given the pressures placed on them to improve returns on investment even as budgets are being squeezed ... it is vital to gain insight into where one's customers want to go next," Duffell said in a statement.
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Steve Addison