One in five tourists to visit US

One in five tourists will travel to the US at some point in the next two years, a new survey has suggested.

The study, conducted by global payment giant Visa and released this week, suggests that the US is the world's most popular tourist destination, narrowly clinching a win over the United Kingdom and Japan.

A full 20 percent of respondents across 23 countries said that they are likely to travel to the US for leisure at some point in the next two years, Visa said, with 19 percent saying the same for the UK and 16 percent opting for Japan.

France and Italy, with 15 percent of the vote apiece, took fourth place.

Japan's figures are especially encouraging considering the devastation caused by the March earthquake and subsequent disasters, with Visa saying that Japan's largest source markets - China and South Korea - still rank the country as a top destination.

"More than one in three (34 percent) respondents from Mainland China and one in four (24 percent) respondents from South Korea said they are likely to travel to Japan in the next two years," said Visa's Ross Jackson.

The survey comes as Visa launches a new partnership with guidebook provider Lonely Planet, designed to underline its travel credentials.

Travelers can now access a new microsite which provides free, Lonely Planet-authored travel information for 12 countries under the Visa brand, including Australia, China, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and Singapore.

Visit the site at