News of locals being fed up with tourists has been spreading like wildfire, the latest ones arriving from Dubrovnik and Barcelona. Origo argues that the latest ranking regarding where tourists are most welcome is quite timely. While Singapore became the city where tourists are most welcome, TravelBird’s survey shows that Budapest is the least welcoming city.

The Dutch traveling website, TravelBird, has conducted a research, examining primarily those cities included in the 500 most popular destinations, according to the World Tourism Organisation. The basis for comparison were factors that made visitors feel warmly welcomed.

Such factors are the quality of the arriving site (e.g. airport, railway station), how happy the locals are, safety, the openness of the city towards tourists, English speaking competence.

After this, 15 thousand travel journalists were asked to share their own experiences regarding the welcome-percentage of given cities. Finally, the data was weighted with the help of an algorithm, where the indicator measured the overflow of tourism at the given destination (the number of tourists in the main season compared to the number of locals, how many beds are available, what do the locals think about tourism).

The 10 most welcoming cities (with the scores in brackets)

  1. Singapore (8.22)
  2. Stockholm (8.02)
  3.  Helsinki (8.01)
  4. San Francisco (8.00)
  5. Rotterdam (7.98)
  6. Lisbon (7.90)
  7. Tokyo (7.89)
  8. Oslo (7.88)
  9. Zürich (7.84)
  10. Orlando (7.81)

The creators of the survey would like to draw attention to the fact that due to the method used, numerous very welcoming cities have not made it to the top 100.

It is also important to note that all cities featured are welcoming, and the fact that a given destination is behind in the ranking, should not be considered as a negative feature. Those cities lagging behind should not be considered unfriendly or unwelcoming.

The 10 least welcoming cities

  1. Jeddah (4.46)
  2. São Paulo (4.40)
  3. Kanton (4.32)
  4. Nairobi (4.31)
  5. Cairo (4.28)
  6. Phnom Penh (4.27)
  7. Colombo (4.24)
  8. Moscow (4.12)
  9. Hanoi (3.98)
  10. Bucharest (3.82)
  11. Budapest (3.74)

Budapest scored very low from the point of view of safety (2.31), despite it having been praised for how safe tourists feel here. It also has low scores in local’s happiness (3.18) and the overflow of tourism (2.89). The Hungarian capital’s highest scores were in lodging (7.64) and in English speaking competence (6.16).

TravelBird’s aim with this research and ranking was to draw attention to the problems related to the overflow of tourism.

“We made this survey as a first step towards a more sustainable future” – argued CEO Steven Klooster.

He further added that they believe in the positive effects of tourism on the local communities, but first, one has to be aware of the challenges, has to be open to innovative thinking, and has to implement rational thinking.

You can find the detailed research method and the full list here.


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