Tourists Name Least Favorite Destinations

June 5, 2014
Laura Joszt

An annual survey reveals how travelers view key tourist cities around the world, including which ones have the best culture and shopping, and which ones have unhelpful locals or poor public transportation.

Never underestimate the impact of locals. Charleston, SC, has often been named the best city in America, not just because of the impressive architecture, nearby beaches, shopping, and culture, but also because its locals are so helpful and friendly.

For instance, in 2013, a tourism group in Paris produced a guide to making visitors feel more welcome, offering tips to locals on how to be friendlier. And this is a city that regularly sees more than 13 million visitors.

Recently, travel site TripAdvisor released its annual Cities Survey, revealing how travelers view key tourist cities around the world. The site compiled results based on more than 54,000 responses from people who recently wrote reviews for the featured cities. (New York City was the only US city evaluated in the survey.) The results proved that having beautiful beaches or great culture doesn’t mean poor hotels or unfriendly locals can’t ruin a vacation.

According to TripAdvisor, New York City ranked first for best nightlife and best restaurants, and landed second for best shopping, best attractions, and best overall experience. Tokyo was named best overall and claimed the top spot for helpfulness, taxi services, local public transportation, and cleanliness of streets. Tokyo also ranked among the top 10 in 13 of the 16 categories.

Budapest was named the best value for money; Vienna is the easiest city to get around in while Dubrovnik has the friendliest taxi drivers; Singapore is the most comfortable for traveling alone; Dubai has the best shopping and the best hotels; and Rome is home to the best attractions and culture.

However, not all tourist destinations ranked well. Moscow ranked last place in 5 different categories, although it was not last for overall experience.

Helpful locals

Last: Moscow

Red Square. Photo by Christophe Meneboeuf

Second last: Beijing

Third last: Marrakech

Friendliest taxi drivers

Last: Moscow

Second last: Beijing

Wangfuijing Street, one of the busiest in Beijing

Third last: Brussels

Best taxi services

Last: Moscow

Second last: Beijing

Third last: Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur’s Central Business District

Cleanest streets

Last: Mumbai

Second last: Marrakech

Third last: Bangkok

Lumphini Park. Photo by Terence Ong.

Ease of getting around

Last: Mumbai

Second last: Punta Cana

Third last: Marrakech

Jemaa-el-Fna market in Marrakech. Photo copyright Luc Viatour/www.Lucnix.be

Best public transport

Last: Marrakech

Second last: Hanoi

Motorbikes dominate the roadways in parts of Hanoi.

Third last: Sharm el-Sheikh

Best value for money

Last: Moscow

Second last: Rio de Janeiro

Third last: Copenhagen

Nyhavn Canal. Photo by Bjarki Sigursveinsson.

Comfort traveling alone

Last: Punta Cana

Second last: Sharm el-Sheikh

Naama Bay. Photo by Marc Ryckaert.

Third last: Marrakech

Best for shopping

Last: Punta Cana

Second last: Moscow

Third last: Rio de Janeiro

Barra de Tijuca district. Barrazine da Barra/Flickr

Best for hotels

Last: Moscow

Second last: Rio de Janeiro

Third last: Brussels

Grand Palace square. Photo by Chris O

Best for restaurants

Last: Punta Cana

Beaches in Bavaro, the tourist part of Puna Cana

Second last: Moscow

Third last: Marrakech

Best for attractions

Last: Punta Cana

Second last: Sharm el-Sheikh

Third last: Mumbai

Gateway of India

Family-friendliness

Last: Marrakech

Second last: Moscow

Fountain in the Square of Europe

Third last: Mumbai

Best for culture

Last: Sharm el-Sheikh

Second last: Punta Cana

Third last: Dubai

Financial center of Dubai

Best for nightlife

Last: Marrakech

Museum of Islamic Art located in the Majorelle Gardens

Second last: Punta Cana

Third last: Hanoi

Best overall experience

Last: Mumbai

Bandra-Worli Sealink connecting Mumbai with its suburbs

Second last: Punta Cana

Third last: Moscow