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When it comes to promotional budgets, the U.S. is far behind the leaders. The numbers gathered by the World Trade Organization, Madrid, reflect only national government spending, not marketing by other government units or private business. (chart) FRANCE, U.K. TOP HOLIDAY PICKS AMERICAN BEATS UNITED IN U.S. AIRLINE AD RECOGNITION

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France and the U.K. are the favorite European vacation spots cited by subscribers in a Newsweek International survey.

The survey found that 45% of the readers who returned a mail questionnaire have vacationed in France since 1991; 29% went to the U.K.; and 28% each to Italy, Germany and North America. In all, nearly 90% of respondents took a European vacation since 1991.

The most likely destinations for future pleasure trips, respondents said, are France (35%), North America (32%), the U.K. (30%), Italy (23%) and Scandinavia (19%).

Germany and Spain were next (at 18% each), followed by Austria and Switzerland (each 17%), Ireland (15%), Benelux and Asia (each 14%) and Australia/New Zealand (13%).

Greece disappeared from the most likely holidays list for trips taken by 1996.

"The survey is a snapshot of the exclusive and elusive group of people who read Newsweek but which the advertisers are also targeting," said Anita Hague, the magazine's marketing services manager.

The survey, based on a random sample of Newsweek International subscribers, was done by mail last October and November in 16 European countries.

Data from the 983 questionnaires received was weighted to make the sample demographically representative of all readers, about 80% of whom have a college education and an average household income of $75,000.

The magazine declined to provide a margin of error.

Some 79% were aware of advertising by British Airways followed by campaigns by Germany's Lufthansa (76%). Air France was in third place (74%).

Of the U.S. airlines, 68% were aware of American Airlines campaigns while United Airlines registered with 59%.

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