CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — For the first time, readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have voted Charleston, South Carolina the World’s Best City in the 2016 World’s Best Awards.
Charleston is the first domestic destination to earn the coveted World’s Best City ranking, and for the fourth consecutive year, the readers of Travel + Leisure ranked the Charleston area the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada.
The title was announced by Jacqui Gifford, Senior Editor of Travel + Leisure, on the TODAY Show on July 6.
Charleston exceeded other destinations in the categories of sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, shopping and value to earn the World’s Best City and the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada designation, scoring 91.66 overall.
You can see the complete results of the 2016 World’s Best Awards Survey by clicking here.
Travel + Leisure Editor Nathan Lump said, “Charleston is a remarkably dynamic place, so it’s no surprise that it has achieved its highest ranking ever in our survey as this year’s best city in the world. The city has managed to preserve all the qualities for which it is widely known-a prime coastal setting, historic architecture, friendly locals-while also nurturing a creative culture that is making it one of the most notable destinations for those who seek out interesting restaurants, bars, and shops that highlight a dedication to distinctive craft.”
The No. 1 rankings continue to positively impact tourism, the number one economic driver to the Charleston area.
Since 2012, the first year Charleston was awarded the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada ranking in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, the total economic impact of tourism has increased 14% to $3.68 billion in 2015 according the Office of Tourism Analysis at the College of Charleston.
Additionally, the average expenditure per adult and the total labor earnings has increased.
Dan Blumenstock, Chairman of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Director of Hotel Operations of Fennell Holdings remarked, “Readers of Travel + Leisure continue to recognize our destination for its friendly people, renowned cuisine, historic landmarks, flourishing arts community, and celebrated shopping scene. This award is a testament to the vitality of Charleston as a world class destination.” Blumenstock added, “The area’s tourism and hospitality community has enjoyed positive growth over the past four years, due in part to the numerous awards bestowed on the Charleston area. We look forward to continued and responsible economic impact as a result of the No. 1 City in the World ranking.”
In addition to the No. 1 City rankings, The Spectator Hotel, located in historic Charleston, was recognized as the No. 1 Top City Hotel in the U.S.
Michael Tall, President & Chief Operating Officer of Charlestowne Hotels stated, “The Spectator was designed, and is operated, with our discerning guests’ needs and desires for a unique, curated experience. With the hotel only having opened less than a year ago, we are truly honored to be recognized by the readers of Travel + Leisure as the No. 1 Top City Hotel in the 2016 World’s Best Awards in the categories of rooms and facilities, service, location, value, and design.”