London and Moscow top least friendly city ratings; tops are Cancun and Tokyo
Here's a good year-ender: a list of the world's friendliest cities (and not so friendly) by folks who use Trip Advisor.
In a survey that counted 40 cities in a wide variety of categories (including Toronto, and more on that in a minute), Trip Advisor said the top 10 friendly cities were Cancun (must've gone on spring break), Tokyo, Lisbon, Istanbul, Cape Town, Dubrovnik, Bangkok, Punta Cana, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Toronto was pretty much in the middle at 23. No other Canadian cities appeared in the survey, which is too bad.
There was, of course, much hand-wringing in London over their 39th place ranking. (I'm sure there was some in Moscow but more than likely Russia leader Vladimir Putin is giving Trip Advisor as much of his time as the members of the banned rock band Pussyriot). The Standard newspaper in London said that "the smiling face London presented for the Olympics appears to have been met with frowns by foreign tourists."
London fared poorly in a few other categories, coming 28th for safety, 26th for cleanliness and 35th (oh, that hurts) in value for money. I'm not sure I agree with that. Hotels CAN be expensive but the best museums and galleries are free, as are the parks and just generally admiring the sights.
Anyhoo, London was at least able to brag about coming fourth in shopping (behind New York, naturally, Bangkok and Dubai) and fifth for taxis.
Moscow not only finished last in friendliess but got the worst marks for cabbies, taxis and shopping.
Mumbai had the dirtiest streets, the Standard noted, while it also was rated the hardest city to get around in. Oslo had the worst value for money, while Hanoi had the worst public transport.
Punta Cana in the D.R. was considered the least safe (but also the eighth friendliest, go figure), followed by Rio de Janeiro and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt.
Lisbon (see photo at right) got the nod for best value for the money, followed by Budapest and Bangkok. Budapest was given the most underrated title, followed by Lisbon and Cape Town.
Toronto was pretty much middle of the pack in all categories. But we snuck into the top ten in shopping, finishing in the number nine spot. Here's where the Big Smoke finished in other aspects of the survey: Friendliness of taxi drivers, 25th; overall taxi service, 18th; ease of getting around, 26th; public transportation 24th; value, 24th; most underrated, 22nd; and safety, 20th.
In cleanliness of streets Toronto was ranked just 14th. Which makes me wonder: whatever happened to that phrase "New York run by the Swiss?" That's how folks used to describe us. Now it's like we're "Zurich run by New York" or something. Zurich, for the record, came third. New York finished 28th. So at least we're slightly closer to the Swiss than the Americans.
Too bad they didn't have more interesting categories. Best bars or ethnic food would've been good additions. Or maybe "most entertaining mayor." Now THAT'S a category where we could finish on the podium.
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Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a seven-night deal listed for the four-star Grand Bahia Principe in La Romana at a savings of up to $200 per couple. The deal costs $1,199 plus $386 in taxes and features ACV priviliges, including exclusive check-in/check-out, four a la carte reservations per week and more. It also includes return airfare from Toronto to La Romana and round-trip airport/hotel transfers in the Dominican Republic. Accomodations are in a Junior Suite, featuring 2 double or 1 king size bed, and a balcony or terrace. Maximum occupancy: 2 adults + 2 children or 3 adults and 1 child and includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
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1st Child (2-12 yrs): $999
2nd Child (2-12 yrs): $899