SYDNEY, Australia - California is more popular and accessible than ever, say global online travel agency Jetabroad, as new figures reveal that San Francisco welcomed a record number of visitors in 2011.
These numbers are expected to increase after three theme parks opened new attractions this summer, and airlines have announced new routes to the Golden State to accommodate eager travellers.
San Francisco saw a nearly 30 per cent increase in international visitors between 2009 and 2011, for a total of 2.87 million visitors in 2011. Statistics from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries show that 22 per cent of these visitors were Australian, with Oceania serving as San Francisco's third largest overseas market.
The city may see even higher visitor numbers in 2012 as a result of new attractions which opened at three of California's largest theme parks. Disney California Adventure re-opened to rave reviews in June after a 1.2 billion-dollar revamp, and Universal Studios in Los Angeles revealed a groundbreaking 3D Transformers ride. SeaWorld San Diego also unveiled the thrilling Manta roller coaster in May.
New flight routes will soon make San Francisco easier to reach than ever. The super-jumbo Airbus A380 will fly daily between San Francisco International Airport and Hong Kong from this winter, and direct flights to Copenhagen have been announced from April 2013. Jetabroad brings the cheapest flights together in one site, so travellers get the best deal on flights to California.
Darin Walters, MD of Jetabroad, comments: "With so many new attractions and the increasing availability of cheap flights to San Francisco, it's no wonder the city is welcoming more visitors than ever.
"A self-drive holiday in California, from San Francisco to Los Angeles and San Diego, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one of the most iconic trips anywhere in the world."