What’s the world’s most welcoming city?

Sydney is pretty welcoming, right? Wrong.

And no, not just because we still don’t have marriage equality. But because we’re just way too popular among tourists. Obviously.

Online travel specialists TravelBird have released a study ranking international cities according to how welcoming they are – which is mainly related to their levels of over-tourism.

How was this magical study conducted, you ask?

To create the ranking, TravelBird analysed the global top 500 tourist destinations based on factors that can make a visitor feel welcome, like an airport or train station, how happy the citizens are, safety, openness to host tourists, and English language proficiency.

After that, they asked over 15,000 travel journos which cities they personally found the most welcoming, before comparing this with the amount of over-tourism in each destination to see who came out on top.

And we are heartbroken to say – it’s not Sydney, or anywhere in Australia for that matter.

We probably just have too many tourists.

Because when a city reaches its capacity for the number of tourists it can carry, issues like overcrowding, long queues at attractions, and increased living costs start to occur (lets all laugh at the state of Sydney’s housing market).

This can negatively affect the daily lives of local residents and therefore impact how welcoming the city is to tourists.

The city that came out on top isn’t exactly less crowded than Sydney, but must be a hell of a lot more welcoming.

The study has revealed Singapore as the number one most welcoming city, as they successfully managing their high visitor levels with the best airport in the world, plus the cultivation of a safe city ecosystem.

Sydney, Australia was hot on its tail at number 55.

The study also looks at the growing problem of over-tourism, particularly in countries like Croatia where you can barely move.

TravelBird CEO Steven Klooster said that over-tourism was an issue that needed a solution, stat.

“As a stakeholder in the future of travel, TravelBird has a responsibility to confront the growing problem of over-tourism,” he said.

“We undertook this study as the first step towards a more sustainable future. 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,” he added.

And over-tourism seems to be a growing trend in Europe (especially in the summer) – Budapest was ranked number 100 on the welcoming scale, scoring less than 3/10 for how well they manage their tourism numbers. Amsterdam also ranks as the third worst city for over-tourism.

Further 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.

·         Paris, France are the most willing to open their homes to tourists in this study.

·         Doha, Qatar, Manama, Bahrain and Lima, Peru have the lowest levels of over-tourism.

Check out the top 20 most welcoming cities here:


Here’s how Sydney fared in the report:


And these are the cities suffering from the worst overtourism: