Lonely Planet Writer

See the US cities that love having tourists come to visit

For some vacations, a serendipitous encounter with locals can make or break the experience. But where are you most likely to find one? New research has tried to discover what US cities love tourists…and which ones are more lukewarm about all of us.

Two tourists take selfies in NYC
These ladies love New York…but does it love them? Image by Sam Edwards

The research looked at geotagged tweets from throughout 2016 containing the terms ‘tourist’ or ‘tourists’ and used an API analysis to determine whether the content had a positive or negative sentiment. This data showed Key West Florida had the warmest sentiments towards tourists, followed by Cleveland, Ohio with Nashville coming a close third.

The full top 10 has a great range of diverse locations to choose from, including major destinations like Boston and Chicago. There’s more good news for visitors; overall the USA is regarded as a friendly destination as a study earlier this year named it the fourth most sociable country in the world.

A table of the top 10 friendliest US cities for visitors
The top 10 friendliest US cities for tourists. Image by Stratos Jet Charters

As for those cities where tourists were a little less well-received? Arizona’s city of Phoenix took the top spot, followed by Denver and San Jose. The eighth most popular city in the world for tourists – New York City – came fourth, perhaps in part due to the record-breaking number of tourists that visited the city in 2016.

Top 10 tourist-hating US cities
Do you see your next destination on here? Image by Stratos Jet Charters.

The research, carried out by Stratos Jet Charters, also took place last year. In 2015, Phoenix came eighth but has now soared to the top spot. Meanwhile, last year’s most tourist-unfriendly city, Arlington Texas, has taken a turn for the friendlier and completely dropped out of the top 10.

If you see your favourite destination on this list, don’t be too disheartened. Remember that many of us are guilty of taking to social media to air our gripes with the world. There may be plenty of love for tourists around but Twitter users may not be likely to share them with the world.