The Hottest Travel Destinations for 2012

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – When planning your vacations for 2012, you may consider such tourist hot spots as New York, Hawaii or the Grand Canyon. But why not switch things up a bit and add Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to the itinerary?

The resort town is one of the 15 “destinations on the rise” for 2012, according to travel website TripAdvisor, which looked at what cities saw big increases in the volume of traveler reviews in the past year, indicating that those destinations are seeing more and more travelers.

The top two destinations are both good-sized cities known for their thriving music scenes: Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, the latter of which TripAdvisor singles out for its “small town appeal” and walking trails. In third place is Fort Myers, Fla., best known to baseball fans as the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. Fort Myers is one of three Florida cities to crack the top 15, joined by Pensacola and Saint Augustine.

If you’re looking for more international flavor, TripAdvisor also looked at the fastest rising cities abroad. That list is topped by Lagos, Portugal and also includes Cape Town, South Africa, and Turin, Italy.

Here is the full list of the fastest rising U.S. destinations:

1. Nashville, Tenn.
2. Austin, Texas
3. Fort Myers, Fla.
4. Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
5. Pensacola, Fla.
6. Louisville, Ky.
7. Branson, Mo.
8. Scottsdale, Ariz.
9. Saint Augustine, Fla.
10. Charleston, S.C.
11. Albuquerque, N.M.
12. Wildwood, N.J.
13. Asheville, N.C.
14. Park City, Utah
15. Santa Cruz, Calif.

Matt Brownell is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at matthew.brownell@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @Brownellorama.

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