Top 100 Cities: Tourist Destination vs. Livability Rank


The following study is an attempt to objectively explore the truism:

 

“Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” 

 

The operational version of this truism would be that tourist cities and livable cities are different cities. The truism has been named the Visit/Live Theory for the purposes of this study.  Two lists that rank cities were compared.  The first list ranks cities according the number of tourists that arrived in a city.

 

The list and a description of the list can be found at:

 

http://www.euromonitor.com/Top_150_City_Destinations_London_Leads_the_Way

 

The second list ranks cities according to livability.   Mercer Human Resources looked at 39 quality of life issues including political stability, currency-exchange regulations, political and media censorship, school quality, housing and the environment.

 

The Mercer list and a description of the list can be found at:

 

http://bwnt.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/livable_cities_worldwide/

 

Table 1 shows all the cities on both lists in alphabetical order.  In addition, the difference in rank was calculated for each city when this was possible.  If a city was on only one top 100 list then the difference in rank could not be calculated.  The tourist destination study looked at 150 cities, but for the purposes of comparison, only the top 100 tourist destinations were used in this study. Many cities were only on one list and not on the other list.  The number of cities on both lists was counted.  The number of cities only on one list was also counted.  If the number of cities on both lists was greater than the number of cities not on both lists then this would suggest the truism is not true.

Top 100 Cities: Tourist Destination vs. Livability Rank

Table 1: Alphabetical List of All Cities

Cities Country Tourist Rank Livability Rank Rank Difference
1 Abu Dhabi UAE 52 88 36
2 Adelaide Australia NR 30 N/A
3 Agra India 99 NR N/A
4 Amsterdam Netherlands 18 13 5
5 Antwerp Netherlands 90 NR 99
6 Athens Greece NR 78 N/A
7 Atlanta USA NR 66 N/A
8 Auckland New Zealand NR 5 N/A
9 Bahrain Bahrain 12 NR 18
10 Bangkok Thailand 2 NR 90
11 Barcelona Spain 10 41 12
12 Beijing China 22 NR N/A
13 Benidorm Spain 33 NR N/A
14 Berlin Germany 34 16 18
15 Bern Germany NR 9 N/A
16 Birmingham United Kingdom 81 55 26
17 Boston USA 68 36 32
18 Bratislava Slovakia NR 99 N/A
19 Brisbane Australia NR 32 N/A
20 Bruges Belgium 89 NR N/A
21 Brussels Belgium NR 14 N/A
22 Buenos Aires Argentina NR 79 N/A
23 Budapest Hungary 36 74 38
24 Cairo Egypt 45 NR N/A
25 Calgary Canada NR 24 N/A
26 Cancun Mexico 26 NR N/A
27 Cape Town South Africa 57 85 28
28 Chennai India 97 NR N/A
29 Chicago USA 64 44 20
30 Chongquing China 100 NR N/A
31 Cleveland USA NR 59 N/A
32 Copenhagen Sweden 54 11 43
33 Dalian China 87 NR N/A
34 Detroit USA NR 64 N/A
35 Dubai UAE 7 80 73
36 Dublin Ireland 11 27 16
37 Dusseldorf Germany NR 5 N/A
38 Edinburgh United Kingdom 56 NR N/A
39 Florence Italy 46 NR N/A
40 Frankfurt Germany NR 7 N/A
41 Geneva Switzerland 98 2 96
42 Glasgow United Kingdom 82 55 27
43 Granada Spain 95 NR N/A
44 Guangzhou China 32 NR N/A
45 Guilin China 65 NR N/A
46 Hamburg Germany 83 24 59
47 Hangzhou China 49 NR N/A
48 Helsinki Finland 77 30 47
49 Hong Kong China 5 70 65
50 Honolulu USA NR 27 N/A
51 Houston USA NR 68 N/A
52 Istanbul Turkey 16 NR N/A
53 Johannesburg South Africa NR 90 N/A
54 Katsuyama Japan NR 73 N/A
55 Kobe Japan NR 40 N/A
56 Krakow Poland 69 NR N/A
57 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 15 75 60
58 Kunming China 94 NR N/A
59 La Havana Cuba 70 NR N/A
60 Las Vegas USA 48 NR N/A
61 Leipzig Germany NR 67 N/A
62 Lexington USA NR 51 N/A
63 Limassol Cyprus NR NR N/A
64 Lisbon Portugal 47 47 0
65 Liverpool United Kingdom 91 NR N/A
66 Ljubljana Slovenia NR 80 N/A
67 London United Kingdom 1 39 38
68 Los Angeles USA 31 55 24
69 Luxembourg Luxembourg NR 18 N/A
70 Lyon France 84 36 48
71 Macau China 27 NR N/A
72 Madrid Spain 17 42 25
73 Manchester United Kingdom 73 NR N/A
74 Marrakesh Morocco 50 NR N/A
75 Mecca Saudi Arabia 19 NR N/A
76 Melbourne Australia 72 17 55
77 Mexico City Mexico 30 NR N/A
78 Miami USA 39 62 23
79 Milan Italy 42 49 7
80 Minneapolis USA NR 60 N/A
81 Monterrey Mexico NR 94 N/A
82 Montevideo Uruguay NR 76 N/A
83 Montreal Canada 85 22 63
84 Moscow Russia 21 NR N/A
85 Mumbai India 86 NR N/A
86 Munich Germany 40 8 32
87 Nagoya Japan NR 54 N/A
88 Nanjing China 76 NR N/A
89 New Delhi India 92 NR N/A
90 New York City USA 6 48 42
91 Nice France 61 NR N/A
92 Nurnberg Germany NR 23 N/A
93 Oahu/Honolulu USA 44 27 17
94 Omuta Japan NR 69 N/A
95 Orlando USA 38 NR N/A
96 Osaka Japan NR 42 N/A
97 Oslo Norway NR 26 N/A
98 Ottawa Canada NR 18 N/A
99 Panama City Panama NR 92 N/A
100 Papeete French Polynesia NR 97 N/A
101 Paris France 3 33 30
102 Perth Australia NR 21 N/A
103 Pittsburg USA NR 52 N/A
104 Portland USA NR 46 N/A
105 Port Elizabeth South Africa NR 97 N/A
106 Port Louis Mauritius NR 77 N/A
107 Prague Czech Republic 20 72 52
108 Qingdao China 79 NR N/A
109 Riga Latvia NR 92 N/A
110 Rio De Janeiro Brazil 35 NR N/A
111 Rome Italy 8 61 53
113 St. Louis USA NR 64 N/A
114 San Juan Puerto Rico NR 71 N/A
115 Salvador de Bahia Brazil 71 NR N/A
116 Salzburg Austria 74 NR N/A
117 San Diego USA 88 NR N/A
118 San Francisco USA 37 29 8
119 Santiago Chile NR 83 N/A
120 São Paulo Brazil 62 NR N/A
121 Seattle USA NR 49 N/A
122 Seoul South Korea 9 87 78
123 Seville Spain 60 NR N/A
124 Shanghai China 13 100 87
125 Shenzen China 41 NR N/A
126 Singapore Singapore 4 34 N/A
127 St. Petersburg Russia 25 NR N/A
128 Stockholm Sweden 66 20 46
129 Suzhou China 59 NR N/A
130 Sydney Australia 43 9 34
131 Taipei China 24 81 57
132 Tallinn Estonia 67 89 22
133 Tianjin China 75 NR N/A
134 Tokyo Japan 51 35 16
135 Toronto Canada 14 15 1
136 Tsukuba Japan NR 55 N/A
137 Tunis Italy NR 95 N/A
138 Valencia Spain 93 NR N/A
139 Vancouver Canada NR 3 N/A
140 Varadero Cuba 53 NR N/A
141 Venice Italy 28 NR N/A
142 Victoria Seychelles NR 95 N/A
143 Vienna Austria 23 3 20
144 Vilnius Lithuania NR 82 N/A
145 Warsaw Poland 29 85 56
146 Washington DC USA 63 44 19
147 Wellington New Zealand NR 12 N/A
148 Winston Salem USA NR 52 N/A
149 Wuxi China 96 NR N/A
150 Xi’an China 78 NR N/A
151 Xiamen China 80 NR N/A
152 Yokkaichi Japan NR 63 N/A
153 Yokohama Japan NR 38 N/A
154 Zhuhai China 58 NR N/A
155 Zurich Switzerland 55 1 54

 

 

NR, no rank, no top 100 rank in this category

N/A, not applicable since the city was on only one of the lists

 

Table 2 below shows cities that were on both lists ordered from the least difference between ranks to the greatest difference between ranks.

 

 

Top 100 Cities: Tourist Destination vs. Livability Rank

Table 2: Comparison of Ranks

Cities Country Tourist Rank Livability Rank Rank Difference
1 Lisbon Portugal 47 47 0
2 Toronto Canada 14 15 1
3 Amsterdam Netherlands 18 13 5
4 Milan Italy 42 49 7
5 San Francisco USA 37 29 8
6 Dublin Ireland 11 27 16
7 Tokyo Japan 51 35 16
8 Oahu/Honolulu USA 44 27 17
9 Berlin Germany 34 16 18
10 Washington DC USA 63 44 19
11 Chicago USA 64 44 20
12 Vienna Austria 23 3 20
13 Tallinn Estonia 67 89 22
14 Miami USA 39 62 23
15 Los Angeles USA 31 55 24
16 Birmingham United Kingdom 81 55 26
17 Glasgow United Kingdom 82 55 27
18 Cape Town South Africa 57 85 28
19 Paris France 3 33 30
20 Boston USA 68 36 32
21 Munich Germany 40 8 32
22 Sydney Australia 43 9 34
23 Abu Dhabi UAE 52 88 36
24 Budapest Hungary 36 74 38
25 London United Kingdom 1 39 38
26 New York City USA 6 48 42
27 Copenhagen Sweden 54 11 43
28 Stockholm Sweden 66 20 46
29 Helsinki Finland 77 30 47
30 Lyon France 84 36 48
31 Prague Czech Republic 20 72 52
32 Rome Italy 8 61 53
33 Melbourne Australia 72 17 55
34 Warsaw Poland 29 85 56
35 Taipei China 24 81 57
36 Hamburg Germany 83 24 59
37 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 15 75 60
38 Montreal Canada 85 22 63
39 Hong Kong China 5 70 65
40 Dubai UAE 7 80 73
41 Seoul South Korea 9 87 78
42 Shanghai China 13 100 87
43 Geneva Switzerland 98 2 96

 

Conclusion

There were a total of 155 cities on either list.  112 cities were only on one list.  Only 43 cities were on both lists.  Cities that are only on one list outnumber cities on both lists 2.6:1.  Even for cities on both lists, the mean difference between ranks was 37.6 and quite high.  These findings suggest that cities that are visited are not the same cities that are more livable.  The truism that some cities are nice places to visit and different cities are nice places to live in is correct.   Table 2 showed which cities had the least difference between ranks and the greatest difference between ranks.

 

The city with the least difference in rank was Lisbon.  Lisbon had a rank of 47 on both lists.  Toronto had the second least difference in rank and has the honor of having a relatively high visitor rank (14) and livability rank (15).  Amsterdam showed a similar pattern to Toronto with a visitor rank of 18 and a livability rank of 13.

 

Geneva had the greatest difference in rank.  Geneva is a great place to live (2) but doesn’t get very many tourists (98) relative to other cities.  Shanghai had the second greatest difference in rank but in the opposite direction as Geneva.  Shanghai is a city that many tourists visit (13) but only ranks 100 in terms of livability.  A practical implication for expats is to be wary of deciding to live in cities you like to visit without taking the Visit/Live Theory into account.

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2 responses to “Top 100 Cities: Tourist Destination vs. Livability Rank

  1. Very interesting, thanks for sharing this.

  2. And thank you for the comment. I am moving to Nagoya and was there the last five days to get an apartment and bank account and I do think Nagoya lives up to its rank on the livability scale despite not being on the tourist list at all. Perfect example of a city that is a great place to live but doesn’t have a lot for tourists. Nagoya Castle is about it.

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