When people want to go to a country, they want to experience one of its most famous cities, with said fame coming hand-in-hand with its global perception. Tourists have certain expectations of many major destinations, but over the years, several of these tourism-driving pictures have changed significantly. While anyone visiting London can still come to a place like Teddington to enjoy a classy restaurant that offers famously British cuisine, the city itself might now be the most quintessentially British destination to visit. With this in mind, we’re exploring some of the other world-famous cities, their global perception, and if it still holds up to this day.
Is London the only place to experience Britishness?
If people want to come to the United Kingdom, they’ll invariably think of London first. While the city is vast, you can find just about everything that reinforces the global perception of Britain around London. In Teddington alone, there are so many classic British dining options to appease different interests. Of course, there’s also the main attraction of Hampton Court Palace to titillate fans of the royals. However, despite London’s notoriety and Teddington’s distinctly British name, these aren’t the only places to experience Britishness – which the tourists seem to be starting to recognise. While the capital, naturally, stands as the most visited by the 40 million people coming from external markets each year, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, and York have quickly risen to contender status in the tourism market. Among we more knowledgeable natives, a 2018 study found that York ranks as Britain’s most-liked city at 92 percent, with the Viking settlement being followed by Bath (89 percent), and Edinburgh (88 percent). In this study, the notorious British city of London stood down in 22nd with 73 percent of people liking the capital.
Famed as the one and only Sin City
Las Vegas has spent its billions upon billions of dollars in revenues on making The Strip one of the most aesthetically unique places in the world. Featuring towering replicas of monuments from across the globe, neon-lit casinos, and a sense of ‘anything goes,’ Sin City earns its name by historically being perhaps the only place in the US that could openly advertise its gambling houses. Due to the global reach of the superpower nation, for a long time, Las Vegas was seen as the casino capital of the world, with the likes of ARIA and the Bellagio being some of the few places that regular people could visit if they wanted to gamble. However, times have changed, and the rise of online casinos have made casino games easily accessible. Thus, the global perception of gambling, and, in turn, Las Vegas, has changed drastically. However, this hasn’t numbed the shine and appeal of Sin City, with it still emphasising the experience of the city as its main attractions. The same can be applied to its other famous attraction: resident musicians. Some may argue that the formation of premium online music streaming platforms like Tidal would reduce the appeal of seeing musicians live. Still, recent residents like Lady Gaga, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, Cardi B, Drake, and the Backstreet Boys continue to prove that people want to come to Sin City and indulge in epic live shows. While the perception of Las Vegas being a gambling oasis in the Nevada desert has changed, it’s still upheld as a beacon of live entertainment.
The not-so-lovely City of Love
Paris is a world-renowned city of romance, with its idyllic depiction often featuring blue skies, flower-laden verandas, waiters with wine, and a couple enjoying the glow of the Eifel Tower. Over the centuries, the French capital has been able to uphold its perception of being the ‘City of Love’. Just saying that you’re going to Paris with your significant other still carries strong connotations of romance, with the city being well-equipped for emphasising this through its Valentine’s Day tours. The mainstream image of La Ville Lumière has been tainted by continued reports of filth, however. Once again in late 2019, Boulevard Saint-Martin hit the headlines for being graffitied all over for weeks, with the Place de la République being a strip of sleeping bags and abandoned bikes. Dubbed Paris poubelle, or “dustbin Paris,” its romantic shimmer has certainly been dimmed in recent years. In fact, even though Sofia and Rome are dirtier capital cities, Forbes reports that Paris’ perception as being the dirtiest capital in Europe is still upheld. Despite all of this, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t automatically think of the romanticised image of Paris before its grubbier, modern showing.
The global perceptions of London, Las Vegas, and Paris don’t quite hold up as well anymore, but there’s still enough of what people expect for them to stand up to tourist scrutiny.