World / Reporter's Journal

15 US cities make world's 'least friendly' list while China places 3

By William Hennelly (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-09-03 23:59

The Internet is bursting with best and worst lists, and some websites exist mainly for that click-driven reason. It's also not uncommon for a college or a city to end up on both good and bad lists, depending on the year.

Travel + Leisure magazine last week put out lists of the world's 30 "friendliest" and 30 "unfriendliest" cities.

China dubiously found itself with three cities — Beijing (11th), Xian (21st) and Shanghai (27th ) — on the surly list, but none on the nice list.

The US unfortunately took 15 spots on the inhospitable list, with Atlantic City, New Jersey (No. 2), Los Angeles (No. 5), New York (No. 6), Philadelphia (No. 7), Baltimore (No. 8) and Las Vegas (No. 9) dominating the top 10. (Two of those cities have casino gambling, so maybe a bad run of luck could explain some of the grumpiness.)

But the United States also placed 11 cities on the bubbly list.

Galway, Ireland, was voted the world's friendliest city, and Moscow was voted the unfriendliest.

"The hospitality and the humor of Ireland's people makes it a perfect destination," one T+L reader said of Galway. Another voter claimed Galway was home to the "friendliest people [they had] ever met." … Galway won readers' hearts with its festive nature, lively population, and musicality. Fiddlers and banjo-players, flautists and whistlers bang out traditional Irish reels on pedestrian streets and in all the pubs. And no wonder! It's known countrywide (and beyond) as the "most Irish" city.

"Book a private guide to help you navigate the capital city's historical sites, including the Kremlin and Izmaylovsky Market," T+L said of Russia's capital. "We suspect the city's notoriously bad traffic and general ‘aloofness' of the people contributed to its low ranking, as well as its culinary scene, which was also ranked dead last in this year's poll."

Xi'an, whose name translates to "western peace", is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China and served as capital under some of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi'an also is where the Silk Road starts and is home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

How did Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province in northwest China, make the list?

Here's what T+L said: "Since the discovery of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army, Xi'an has become a major tourist destination. Tourists from around the world flock to see the life-size terracotta warriors and horses, though the city isn't necessarily up to the challenge of hosting all the selfie-stick-wielding hordes. Pushy shop-owners make for tense people-to-people experiences."

Now if terracotta warriors could only talk.

The gripes with Beijing had more to do with crowding and the air rather than the general nature of its citizens.15 US cities make world's 'least friendly' list while China places 3

"Voters seem to agree that this city had too many people to manage, regardless of the friendliness levels of its populace. Escape the crowds (and, yes, the pollution) inside one of the city's new hotels, which continue to practice the region's famous, anticipatory hospitality — even if locals don't. Try the new Rosewood Beijing, fronted with cast-bronze dragon sculptures, and featuring cloisonné in the 282 loft-style guest rooms."

The criticism of Shanghai was muted: "Many travelers found Shanghai to be a bit crowded and overwhelming. "People stayed to themselves," noted one reader. Spend some quiet time at the new Power Station of Art museum, or the Rockbund Art Museum."

Hong Kong didn't show up on either list, but Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said on Tuesday that the city needs to maintain its hospitable image as declining visitor numbers are affecting tourism-related businesses.

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