TravelBird, the Dutch holiday travel site, is taking the trouble to do things properly in an interesting and novel manner.
They have produced a “Most Welcoming Cities” research by ranking cities according to how welcome they are in relation to their levels of over-tourism.
Helsinki ranks 3 out of 100, considered by travel journalists to be very welcoming. The city also ranks highly for safety, citizen happiness levels and English proficiency and has a low over-tourism score. Two great cities, Singapore (naturally) and Stockholm, rank just above Helsinki.
The research of Most welcoming cities is available in 8 languages on their site:
They undertook this study because many cities are making efforts to welcome tourists responsibly, and secondly to open the dialogue about over-tourism and its impact on residents and their surrounding communities.
To create the ranking, they first analysed the global top 500 tourist destinations based on factors that can make a visitor feel welcome, such as a welcoming port of entry (airport, train station etc.), citizens’ happiness, safety, openness to host tourists, and English language proficiency.
They then ran an expert poll asking over 15,000 travel journalists how welcoming they found each city based on their personal experiences, and then weighted all of these factors with a formula that measures over-tourism in each destination to determine the final ranking of 100 cities.
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, TravelBird 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 sq km), 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.