A tweet-based comparison.
New York is notoriously hostile to tourists, but it’s got nothing on Arlington, Texas. That’s according to a new study conducted by private air charter company Stratos Jets, which analyzed thousands of tourist-related tweets from across the country.
The company used an algorithm to assess the positive or negative sentiment in geotagged tweets featuring the word “tourist,” then used those scores to rank the hospitality of different cities and regions. Below are a few of the sampled tweets:
Why do tourists go to the top of tall buildings and then put money in telescopes so they can see things on the ground in close-up?— Mind Blown (@BLOWNMlND) May 27, 2013
You know it's spring in New York when every street corner is crowded with lost tourists. Hi guys! Just a tip, Broadway runs diagonally!— Hannah Orenstein (@hannahorens) April 6, 2015
And then there’s the classic:
I hate tourists so much. Go home— Hannah Ciatto (@ciatto_hannah) May 15, 2015
The results largely accord with regional stereotypes. The Midwest appears to be the friendliest, the Northeast the nastiest, and the West Coast—where gorp-eating hippies presumably cancel out Beverly Hills snobs—comes off roughly neutral. But the South is surprisingly inhospitable to tourists, with negative sentiment scores comparable to the Northeast’s.
The study also ranked cities on their “love” or “hate” for tourists, with Chicago emerging as the most welcoming by far. On the other hand, fanny-packed visitors should probably prepare for an icy reception in Arlington, New York, Las Vegas, Boston, and New Orleans.
Of course, tweets are an imperfect measure of a city’s openness to tourism. The World Economic Forum, in its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, ranks a nation’s hospitality by the political and economic infrastructure it provides for the tourism industry. The 2013 report asked citizens to rate how “welcoming” their country was to foreign visitors, but this variable didn’t appear in the latest edition.
Still, the raw vitriol spewed by a city’s active social media users might be a good predictor of the number of eye rolls, foot taps, and throat clearings you’re likely to elicit by fumbling for a transit pass or blocking the sidewalk in a new city. Another data set from the Stratos Jets study reveals where you’re likely to encounter the most vulgar tourist haters, based on an analysis of expletive-laden tweets:
You’ve been warned.