The Official Globe Trekker Website

The world’s most welcoming cities

Online travel specialists TravelBird have released a study ranking international cities according to how welcome they are in relation to their levels of over-tourism. Reports this summer have shown how over-tourism is dampening the spirits of local communities and affecting visitor experiences.

To create the ranking, the study first analysed the global top 500 tourist destinations (taken from the UN-WTO) based on factors that can make a visitor feel welcome, such as a welcoming port of entry (such as an airport or train station), citizens’ happiness, safety, openness to host tourists, and English language proficiency. Furthermore, they ran an expert poll asking over 15,000 travel journalists how welcoming they found each city based on their personal experiences. The study then weighted all of these factors with a formula that measures over-tourism in each destination to determine the final ranking of 100 cities. 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.

When a city reaches its capacity for the number of tourists it can carry, issues such as overcrowding, lengthy queues at attractions, and increased living costs start to occur. This can negatively affect the daily lives of local residents, and therefore, impact how welcoming the city is to tourists. To determine a quantifiable figure for an issue as complex as over-tourism, the study specifically looked into the tourism carrying capacity of each city. This was calculated by comparing the following factors: number of residents compared to the number of tourists during the peak season, which indicates levels of overcrowding. Next they looked at number of licensed hotel beds in addition to the number of peer-to-peer rental beds (per square kilometre), which indicates if the city has adequate tourist accommodation. Following this, they conducted a second representative poll which asked local residents how tourism has positively or negatively impacted their daily lives, and used this data to create a weighted average that contributed to the city’s total over-tourism score.

The top 20 most welcoming cities in the word:

  1. Singapore, Singapore
  2. Stockholm, Sweden
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. San Francisco, USA
  5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
  6. Lisbon, Portugal
  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Oslo, Norway
  9. Zurich, Switzerland
  10. Orlando, USA
  11. Hamburg, Germany
  12. Copenhagen, Denmark
  13. Dublin, Ireland
  14. Toronto, Canada
  15. Nice, France
  16. Bruges, Belgium
  17. Geneva, Switzerland
  18. New York, USA
  19. Berlin, Germany
  20. Phuket, Thailand

Findings from this study:

To read more about the study, click here.

 

main image: Stockholm, courtesy of Thomas Fabian, Flickr creative commons