Glasgow is officially the world’s friendliest city – and visitors can’t get enough of it.

The accolade was awarded to the nation’s largest city by Time Out Magazine after a survey of 34,000 city-dwellers for its ‘Best Cities in the World’ 2019 list.

Glasgow – which now attracts an estimated 2.4 million tourists every year, 800,000 of which from overseas – was also voted amongst the top ten cities across the globe to visit in 2019, leapfrogging the likes of Paris, Las Vegas and Tokyo to reach the number eight spot.

Glasgow Times:

People surveyed cited music, food and “daft wit” as some of the best qualities of the city, which has undergone a major image change since the Glasgow’s Miles Better campaign launched 35 years ago, becoming a major international destination.

Time Out’s rankings were created by surveying tens of thousands of people across hundreds of cities worldwide, who answer questions on a range of criteria including community, culture, nightlife and their overall happiness.

A team of editors – all experts on their city – then rate what it’s really like to live there.

One of the factors cities were ranked on was progress, with 55 percent of respondents saying Glasgow had changed for the better over time.

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The city’s nightlife also helped it climb into the top ten, due in no small part to venues such as the award-winning SSE Hydro, Sub Club, as well as the Riverside Festival attracting big name acts from around the world.

Glasgow Times:

Voices from across the city have hailed the accolade, with some pointing to a recent resurgence in its culinary offering – such as the transformation of Finnieston, in the city’s west end, into a dining destination.

Paul Waterson, spokesman for the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “The environments of pubs and bars in Glasgow are second to none, I don’t say that lightly.

“I am not surprised that they’ve been looked on very positively and because we’ve worked really hard over the last 10 years or so to make sure what they’re offering is good.”

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Eva Bolander, originally from Sweden, said the city’s “world-famous friendliness and warmth” was one of the main reasons she made Glasgow her home. She added: “I’m so proud this progressive, exciting and dynamic place consistently delivers a world class tourism and visitor experience.”

The People Make Glasgow campaign, run by Glasgow Life on behalf of Glasgow City Council, is symbolic of the character of Glaswegians who make the city so welcoming.

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “The global tourism market is fiercely competitive, but there’s no shortage of compelling reasons to visit Glasgow.

“Undeniably, at the heart of our success is our people – Glaswegians are justifiably renowned around the world for their friendliness, warm welcome and good humour.

“We’re also a very affordable city, which is a real draw for today’s millennial traveller.”

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Glasgow’s airport has spent millions upgrading facilities to make it a suitable gateway to the city, and praised the impact of the Times Out honour.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said the city being placed in the top ten was a “fantastic vote of confidence” and the airport was working to “tirelessly” to create new flight routes.

He said: “Next month, Emirates will create aviation history when it introduces Scotland’s first-ever scheduled A380 service from Glasgow.

“This is a huge milestone for Glasgow and it’s an announcement that will help further raise the profile of our city.”

Glasgow Times:

Locals and visitors across the city have also spoken of its qualities and progress.

David Jack, from Glasgow, said: “It’s certainly changed, I was a war baby, we grew up quite, quite different.” Commenting on the friendliness of Glaswegians, David added: “Most of the famous Scottish comedians are from Glasgow, they’re not from Edinburgh.

“I might be biased but people are kind and helpful, you’ll see people stopping and talking to strangers in the street and saying can I help you?”.

Nurfadzillah Abdmalik, a tourist from Malaysia visiting Glasgow for the first time, said people had been “very friendly” towards her.

Glaswegian Joanne Gilmour said: “There was a time when the description of a tourist in Glasgow was ‘someone who was lost’. Now we are a destination.”

Major international events have also helped raise Glasgow’s profile and bring new and returning visitors.

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Celia and David Impey, from York, visited Glasgow in 2014 for the Commonwealth Games and decided to return for a city break.

“We enjoyed it then, but we wanted to see a bit more of the culture,” Mrs Impey said. They were particularly impressed with the free access to Glasgow’s museums and cultural sites.

In 1983 the famous Glasgow’s Miles Better campaign kick-started the rehabilitation of the city’s image for Glaswegians, as well as nationally and internationally.

The image of Mr Happy was plastered around the city as part of the then Lord Provost, Dr Michael Kelly’s, campaign. Speaking to the Evening Times in 2008 to mark the 25th anniversary of the campaign Dr Kelly said: “Glasgow’s Miles Better provided an impetus for the city, it helped put us on the map.”

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