Cities around the world have been spending millions of dollars in marketing their key attractions to domestic and foreign tourists so as to reap tourism revenue. These marketing strategies are successful in most cases, and cities like Miami and Paris receive millions of tourists each year. However, after sampling the array of attractions some of these cities tend to disappoint their visitors due to a number of reasons. The online magazine Travel and Leisure published a report in 2015 listing the 10 rudest cities in the world for tourists.
According to the report, Paris was voted as the least friendly city for tourists in the world. The entry of Paris as the rudest city in the world brought out a contrast from the reputation the city has built over the years as being the romance-capital of the world. The French capital has invested heavily in marketing its star attractions to foreign visitors to much success, with the city attracting over 20 million tourists each year. However, upon arrival, many visitors are rather disappointed with the Paris experience, with most key attractions not living up to their hype and are usually overcrowded. English-speaking tourists in particular quickly learn that the average French-speaking local is not the romanticized individual portrayed in the media and will quickly brush one off while they attempt, albeit often unsuccessfully, to pronounce “bonjour”. The language barrier is present in most public facilities including public transportation and hotels. The unfriendly experience in Paris is so profound that it is named the “Paris Syndrome.”
Coming up at number two in the world’s rudest cities list is UK’s capital, London. Despite having a multitude of attractions, which include four World Heritage Sites (Kew Gardens, Tower of London, St. Margaret’s Church, and the Palace of Westminster), the city was voted as the worst city for tourists in the UK. To put London’s miserable position into perspective, the city attracted 65 million tourists in 2015 and accounted for about 54% of the total visitor spending in the United Kingdom. While communication might not seem such a challenge for English-speaking visitors, tourists claimed that Londoners are some of the frostiest individuals they had ever met, with the residents rarely smiling and avoiding conversations with anyone. Most of the famed tourist spots in the city also turn out to be overpriced and overhyped tourist traps.
According to the report, the title for the most unfriendly city in Asia goes to Beijing, which ranked third in the 10 rudest cities in the world. While most tourists commend the welcoming nature of Beijing residents, visitors to the Chinese capital encountered a huge language barrier, with majority of residents speaking in Chinese and many hotels in the city have menus written in Chinese. Another key factor behind Beijing’s prominence on the miserable list is its terrible environmental pollution, with the city being covered by a thick cloud of smog. The city’s 25 million inhabitants was another factor behind its unfriendliness due to overcrowding as well as nerve-wracking traffic congestions. Some visitors complained of Beijing residents exhibiting disgusting social behaviors such as public spitting.
7. Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is the world-famous capital of the Principality of Monaco. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, attracting millions of tourists each year. Monte Carlo is famous for being one of the host cities of the Formula One Grand Prix, a renowned racing competition. The city’s favorable residency laws made many global celebrities to become Monte Carlo residents. Despite the city’s popularity, it was voted as the fourth rudest city in the world. Due to the influx of affluent residents, ordinary visitors find it hard to fit in, as most facilities in Monte Carlo are extremely expensive. As a testament of the extravagant lifestyle in the city, Monte Carlo has featured repeatedly on lists of the most expensive cities to reside. Other visitors complain of the plain architecture displayed in many buildings in Monte Carlo, giving the city a rather dull look.
6. Buenos Aires
The Argentinian capital, Bueno Aires, was voted as the rudest city in South America and the fifth rudest in the world. According to a 2008 report by Travel + Leisure magazine, over 2.5 million visitors toured the city in 2008, which was one of the highest tourist numbers in the continent. However, after sampling the few key attractions in the city, visitors are rather disappointed of the experience and many of them complain of the lack of culture and tradition in the city, with Bueno Aires being referred to as the “Paris of South America." The western influence in the city’s culture cuts across all major cultural spheres including music, film, literature and art, and therefore visitors from “western” countries see no difference in Bueno Aires from their home country.
The title for the rudest city in Africa went to Marrakesh, which was ranked at sixth in the world’s rudest cities list. The famous city is the fourth largest city in Morocco and is home to a range of tourist attractions seen nowhere else in the country, including the Medina of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its residents are seen are warm and welcoming. However, this welcoming nature portrayed by locals is very superficial, with many using this warmth to exploit unknowing tourists of their money.
4. New York
The largest city in the United States, New York, took the seventh position of the rudest cities in the world. Despite attracting 11.57 million tourists each year (the highest in the country), New York was voted as the rudest city for visitors in the United States. A common complaint from tourists is the extreme noise pollution experienced in the city.
The warm summer and pleasant beaches have made Miami one of the most famous tourist destinations in North America, with the city being the second-most-popular tourist destination in the United States. In 2008, the city was voted as the cleanest city in the county due to its year-round clean streets. However, despite its fame, Miami was voted as the second-rudest city for tourists in the US. The city’s hugely expensive lifestyle and predominant Spanish-speaking residents were the primary factors in its inclusion on the infamous list.
Qatar’s capital city, Doha, was unfortunate to be included in the infamous list and was voted as the rudest city in the Middle East. The city was voted as one of the New7Wonders Cities in 2015 as a testament of Doha’s growing global reputation. However, Doha’s extremely hot climate was a point of concern to visitors with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius on numerous occasions. Another reason behind Doha’s inclusion in the list is the lack of cultural monuments in the city, which is attributed to its tremendous growth in the 21st century, and resulted in the demolition of many traditional buildings.
Wrapping up the top-ten list of misery is Africa’s largest city, Lagos. With a population of over 22 million people, Lagos has one of the worst cases of overcrowding in the continent. Another common complaint from visitors is Lagos’ traffic congestion, which can stretch for miles and is the worst in Nigeria.
What is the World's Worst City for Tourists?
Some of the world's rudest cities for tourists are said to be Paris, London, Beijing, and Monte Carlo.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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