ToursByLocals Reveals Top 15 Most Popular Places to Hire a Guide in 2014, Predicts Emerging Destinations

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We recently compiled our sales data from 2014 to determine which cities saw the highest number of tour bookings. For travelers booking a local guide in 2014, the trend was clear: European cities dominated bookings, taking 11 of the 15 top spots in ToursByLocals “Most Popular Places” list.

With almost 30,000 private tours sold in 130 different countries in 2014, the data offers a clear snapshot of where North American travelers visited with a tour guide in the past 12 months.

The top 15 most popular places to hire a guide in descending order, were:

1. Paris, France
2. Rome, Italy
3. Kyoto, Japan
4. Tokyo, Japan
5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
6. Istanbul, Turkey
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
8. Barcelona, Spain
9. Athens, Greece
10. Prague, Czech Republic
11. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
12. Florence, Italy
13. London, UK
14. Mexico City, Mexico
15. Budapest, Hungary

We expect European destinations to continue to be strong throughout 2015. When asked to predict emerging destinations, ToursByLocals President Paul Melhus named Egypt, Myanmar and parts of Eastern Canada and the U.S.

“Before the political unrest of 2012, Egypt was one of our biggest sellers. Egyptian tourism has since taken a huge hit, and is just now showing preliminary signs of recovering. We saw a 50% increase in tours sold in Cairo in 2014; I expect that number to climb as more travellers return.”

“In Asia, we’ve seen a surge in demand for guides in Myanmar, as that nation’s tourism infrastructure continues to develop, and more cruise lines include Yangon on their tour itineraries. It’s definitely a place where a local guide provides incredible value.”

“In North America, we noticed tour sales growing in the east in 2014. Sales in Quebec City increased almost 100% over 2013, while Halifax increased by nearly 200%. 63% more ToursByLocals travelers hired a guide this year in New York City, and over 100% more hired one in Pittsburgh. We’ll continue to watch this domestic travel trend.”

With the strong American dollar, we're already seeing higher-than-expected tour sales for January and February, as Americans plan overseas vacations for 2015. It's going to be a great year for travel.
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