THE city-state of Singapore may be known for its stringent rules, striking city skyline and its fast-paced urban living, but Dutch travel agency Travelbird also reckons it’s the most welcoming city in the world.
The holiday website compiled the rankings of friendliest places to touch down by initially scoring the world’s 500 biggest cities for tourism on a range of factors, from how welcoming the port of entry is to the happiness of residents, from safety and security to the city’s openness to host tourists and general English language proficiency.
Travelbird combined this with data garnered from polling more than 15,000 travel journalists on their experiences, before weighing all of these factors against a formula that measures overtourism in each destination to compile a list of the top 100 most welcoming cities.
The latter was important because, according to Travelbird, “If a city is over its tourism carrying capacity, then issues such as overcrowding, lengthy queues and rising living costs occur, which all negatively impact local residents and therefore affect how welcoming they are to tourists.”
When all things were considered together, the final list was compiled and Singapore came up trumps. The Southeast Asian nation scored particularly highly for its welcoming port of entry, achieving a perfect 10 in this category. The country is known for its cleanliness (chewing gum is banned), multi-cultural charm and the prevalence of English signs, making it easy to navigate as a tourist.
Scandinavian cities also fared well, with Stockholm and Helsinki coming in second and third respectively.
The only other Asian city to make it into the top 10 was Tokyo, coming in at number seven.
Here’s the full top 10:
- San Francisco
In a statement, TravelBird emphasized there were probably lots of incredibly welcoming cities that did not make the list and that every city is welcoming in its own way. It also called for more conversations about sustainable travel.
“We devised this study as the first step towards a more sustainable future,” said CEO Steven Klooster. “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. 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.”