Edinburgh named 3rd most welcoming city in world

Edinburgh gets the thumbs-up from visitors. Picture: Scott Taylor

Edinburgh gets the thumbs-up from visitors. Picture: Scott Taylor

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THE Capital traditionally lags “smiles” behind Glasgow in the friendliness stakes – but not any more.

Tourist bible Conde Nast Traveller has named Edinburgh as the third most welcoming city in the world – while Scotland’s largest metropolis failed to make the cut.

Based on more than a million votes cast by nearly 77,000 readers, the magazine’s ranking scored cities on a five-point scale – running from excellent to poor – and across criteria including location, political perception, size and language barriers.

Edinburgh has emerged with top marks, trailing only the Irish city of Cork and Asheville in the US state of North Carolina.

And contrary to the long-held belief that they are more reserved and distant than counterparts elsewhere, locals here were described as “extremely friendly” in the prestigious guide.

Even bus drivers came in for glowing praise, with readers noting that they “go out of their way” to help visitors travel safely and without getting lost.

And the city’s overall offering has proved a massive hit with voters, who called it a “safe, enchanting” place with a “cool vibe”.

The result has been hailed as evidence of the warmth of Edinburgh’s people and a 
testament to the dedication of thousands of staff employed in its fast-growing tourism sector.

Robin Worsnop, chair of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), said: “It’s a fabulous accolade, especially from Conde Nast, who have quite a high-end customer base.

“I think it’s great that people see such friendliness in Edinburgh and it’s a tribute to people in the industry, who are very focused on giving visitors a great experience. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

“We are a very hospitable and friendly place to visit and I think we in the city welcome people from all over the world. It’s great news.”

City leaders said they were delighted at the ranking and predicted it would help underpin continued success for firms which depend on Edinburgh’s tourist trade.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion, said: “It’s great news and it lays to rest, hopefully forever, that Glasgow is friendlier than Edinburgh.

“Glasgow is a friendly place but this has proven that Edinburgh is very friendly too – we’ve always known we are and it’s great that an independent third party agrees.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com