Top 5 Friendliest Cities in the World


The Merlion Statue in Marina Bay, Singapore.
The Merlion Statue in Marina Bay, Singapore.
A new study ranks the most welcoming cities in the world. Who was rated number one?

A new study has analysed how welcoming different cities around the world are towards tourists. The TravelBird study explored how over-tourism affects locals in a number of countries, aiming to increase the conversation around sustainable travel.

The top 500 global destinations (drawn from UN-WTO) were assessed on a number of factors, including happiness, English language proficiency, safety and openness to tourists. TravelBird deepened their study by polling more than 15,000 travel journalists on their personal experience with each city. The data was then measured according to each city and the 100 top cities ranked.

Overall, the top 5 cities were:

  1. Singapore, Singapore
  2. Stockholm, Sweden
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. San Francisco, USA
  5. Rotterdam, Netherlands

In specific categories, Oslo, Norway scored a perfect 10 for Happiness, while Singapore had the highest ranking for Openness To Hosting Tourists at 8.60%. When it came to safety, Tokyo, Japan led the charts at 9.65% just ahead of Copenhagen, Denmark, who held a firm 9.48%.

Auckland, New Zealand ranked 28/100 with an overall score of 7.13 and Sydney, Australia ranked 55/100 with a total score of 6.07.

As well as promoting great cities for travellers and encouraging dialogue about ethical tourism, the study raises questions of overcrowding, living costs and increased traffic at tourist attractions and sights. A second poll asked locals whether tourism has a negative or positive affect on their daily life.

TravelBird CEO Steven Klooster explained the reasons behind the study. “We undertook this study as the first step towards a more sustainable future,” he said. “It’s a call-to-action to ourselves and to fellow tour operators, to residents and local governments in those places that are worst affected by over-tourism, to work together to find solutions to this problem.”

Stressing the equal importance of tourism and preservation, Klooster continued: “We believe tourism can have a positive impact on local destinations; with a clear understanding of the issues at hand, innovative thinking and commonsense legislation, we can preserve and protect them for the future.”

Stockholm, Sweden came 2nd overall on the list.


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