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:
- Singapore, Singapore
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Helsinki, Finland
- San Francisco, USA
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Tokyo, Japan
- Oslo, Norway
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Orlando, USA
- Hamburg, Germany
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dublin, Ireland
- Toronto, Canada
- Nice, France
- Bruges, Belgium
- Geneva, Switzerland
- New York, USA
- Berlin, Germany
- Phuket, Thailand
Findings from this study:
- Copenhagen, Denmark is the most welcoming city according to travel experts.
- Singapore scores the best for port of entry.
- Abu Dhabi, UAE is the safest city in the index.
- Oslo, Norway is the happiest city.
- Dublin, Ireland scores highest for English proficiency.
- Doha, Qatar, Manama, Bahrain and Lima, Peru have the lowest levels of over-tourism.
- The Netherlands is home to cities that feature in both the top 10 and bottom 10 for over-tourism. Amsterdam ranks as the 3rd worst city for over-tourism, while Rotterdam ranks as the 4th best city for low levels of over-tourism.
To read more about the study, click here.
main image: Stockholm, courtesy of Thomas Fabian, Flickr creative commons