Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glad to see Charleston on the Conde Nast Traveler lists... but take a closer look

The Charlotte Observer today reported that Charleston again was voted the No. 1 city in the United States  to visit in the annual  Readers' Choice Awards by Conde Nast Traveler -- for the fourth year.
Also, Charleston finished in second place in the Readers' Choice Awards for Top 25 Cities in the World.

But a closer look at the other cities in both lists may be informative.

Top 5 Cities in the United States

1. Charleston
2. Santa Fe, N.M.
3. New Orleans
4. San Francisco
5. Chicago

Top Cities in the World

1. Florence, Italy
2. Charleston
3. Budapest, Hungary
4. Cape Town, South Africa
5. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
6. Prague, Czech Republic
7. Rome
8. Siem Reap, Cambodia
9. Barcelona, Spain
10. Santa Fe, N.M.
11. Krakow, Poland
12. Luang Prabang, Laos
13. Bangkok, Thailand
14. Beirut, Lebanon
15. Vienna, Austria
16. Siena, Italy
17. New Orleans
18. Quebec City, Canada
19. Sydney, Australia
20. San Francisco
21. Chiang Mai, Thailand
22. Salzburg, Austria
23. Chicago
24. Bruges, Belgium
25. Kyoto, Japan

Why is "Top Cities in the United States" limited to only five destinations? While a good bit of the contents of the magazine (these and other best-of lists are in the November issue, on the shelves Oct. 26) is usually geared toward luxury and exotic travel, the five-city limit seems restrictive for a magazine based in America and written for American readers. 

With the exception of Santa Fe, N.M., the other winners in the United States list also appear on the  world list.

And with the exception of Santa Fe, the domestic destinations chosen are not surprising. In fact, they could qualify for been-there-done-that honors for most travelers.

But look at some of the international selections, like exotic Luang Prabang, Laos, or  Beirut, Lebanon -- a fascinating place that was a jet-set destination before decades of civil war. Who would have imagined those places (or even rustic Siena, Italy) on the top 25 list?

Think it through: Could fabled Florence, Italy -- shown at the top of this post -- really be the only city in the world more worth visiting than Charleston?

Be aware that anyone could take any of the Conde Nast Traveler's online polls.

It' ain't just readers, folks. 

Maybe  Conde Nast Traveler poll-takers aren't overly curious about trying different or unusual destinations in the United States  -- or are poll-takers on a mission. Or just don't get out much. And perhaps poll-takers' international choices are more of a wish list than anything.


Anonymous said...

Charlotte often gets accused of being a city full of insecure people who aspire to put it on a fake, undeserving pedestal. I've often disagreed. And then the Observer publishes a story like this, that for the life of me I totally don't understand. Why try to minimize such a wonderful accolade for Charleston? The only conclusion is jealousy.