Brief • 19 min Read
Ahead of the summer tourism season—one that is shaping to be the most active since 2019—The Harris Poll surveyed a representative sample of U.S. adults about their perceptions of 10 American cities being tourist destinations. Cities included the survey were Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. Respondents who were either residents or who had visited each city in the past were asked on a scale from 0 to 10 how likely they’d be to recommend the city as a tourist destination to a family member, friend, or colleague, and net promoter scores were calculated using their rankings. Those who rate their likelihood from 0 to 6 are classified as Detractors. Those who rate their likelihood from 7-8 are classified as Passives. Those who rate their likelihood from 9-10 are classified as Promoters.
Taking an example, Chicago is largely viewed as a tourist destination, with two thirds (67%) of U.S. adults considering Chicago to be a tourist destination, but only half (51%) had ever been to the city, either as a resident or a visitor. More than 8 in 10 Midwesterners (83%) consider Chicago to be a tourist destination, which is unsurprising, given the city’s status as the largest metropolitan area in the region.
Those who have been to Chicago, either as a resident or a visitor, rate the city at a 6.74/10 as a place to visit. This increases to 7.99/10 among those who report being a current or previous Chicago resident (vs 6.45/10 among those who have only visited). Four in 10 (41%, vs 23% of current/previous residents and 45% of visitors) are classified as Detractors, rating the city between 0 to 6 (out of 10) as a place to visit. A quarter (24%, vs 19% of current/previous residents and 25% of visitors) are classified as Passives, rating the city at a 7 or 8 (out of 10) as a place to visit. A third (35%, vs 57% of current/previous residents, vs 30% of visitors) are classified as Promoters, rating the city at a 9 or 10 (out of 10) as a place to visit.
Those who have been to Chicago most often consider dining and activities when evaluating the city as a place to visit, but more pragmatic factors cannot be discounted. More than 4 in 10 visitors report that the city’s restaurant options (45%) and local attractions (42%) influenced their rating. While these amenities were similarly important to those who report being a current or previous Chicago resident (each considered by 56%), factors that impact daily life are also viewed as influential.
- Diversity of activities: 46%, vs 35% of visitors
- Public transit: 32%, vs 22% of visitors
- Presence of local businesses: 23%, vs 14% of visitors
Promoters, more often report that factors related to ambiance and experience influence their rating of Chicago, compared to both Passives and Detractors.
- Atmosphere: 53%, vs 39% of Passives, vs 21% of Detractors
- Cultural diversity: 47%, vs 25% of Passives, vs 20% of Detractors
- Cleanliness: 30%, vs 13% of Passives, vs 20% of Detractors
Those who rate Chicago poorly as a place to visit (Detractors, 0-6) report that personal safety (32%) influenced their rating more often compared to both Passives (14%) and Promotors (16%).
This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll between May 4-13, 2022 among 1,091 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income, and propensity to be online are weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For more information, please contact Madelyn Franz, or Andrew Laningham.
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