Many cities around the world boast stunning architecture, iconic landmarks and a fascinating history. But while they might look great and have an intriguing past, how welcoming are they for tourists?
There are many reasons a holidaymaker may or may not feel very welcome in a city - and now a holiday website has compiled a study of the global top 100 tourist destinations based on factors that can make visitors feel welcome, including a welcoming port of entry, its citizen’s happiness, openness to host tourists and English language proficiency.
Travelbird also asked more than 15,000 travel journalists how welcoming they found each city, and weighted the scores with a formula taking into account ‘over-tourism’ - so marks were deducted if the city was overcrowded, had lengthy queues and rising living costs etc, as these “all negatively impact local residents and therefore affect how welcoming they are to tourists”.
The outcome is a list of the 100 most welcoming cities in the world, although Travelbird highlights: “This research highlights a precise selection of popular cities around the world in order to give an international overview, meaning there are undoubtedly many welcoming cities not included.”
Wondering which places made the list? The top three cities are Singapore (scoring 8.22 overall), Stockholm (8.02) and Helsinki (8.01), with the most welcoming UK city judged to be London, which ranked 29th with a score of 7.06, followed by Glasgow in 31st place, Edinburgh at number 33, and Liverpool at 37th.
The least most-welcoming city on the list was Budapest in Hungary, which scored 3.74 overall.
Here’s a look at the top 5 most-welcoming cities according to Travelbird:
The Far Eastern city state scored a perfect 10 for its port of entry, as its Changi Airport has just been judged the World’s Best Airport for the fifth year running. It also got high marks for safety, English language proficiency and its willingness to host tourists at home. Its least impressive score, however, was on its citizens’ happiness.
The Swedish capital got one of the highest scores from travel journalists, and also ranked particularly highly on its citizens’ happiness and port of entry. It was only let down slightly by its lower score for being willing to host tourists at home.
Finland’s capital city had one of the highest scores for happy citizens, beaten only by Oslo and Zurich. It also scored well on safety and was ranked highly by the travel experts, although like Stockholm, it didn’t fare so well on its willingness to host tourists at home.
4. San Francisco
Not surprisingly, the bustling Californian city scored highly on its English language proficiency and with the travel experts, but not quite as well on safety or willingness to host tourists at home. And while the San Franciscan citizens are deemed to be pretty happy, the city did lose marks for over-tourism.
The Dutch port rated very highly for its port of entry, English language proficiency and happy inhabitants, but less well on its willingness to host tourists at home and safety.