Why Newport Is So Unfriendly: Our Scapegoats

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Travel & Leisure ranked Newport among the world’s most unfriendly cities…but are local Newporters really at fault?

Residents of the City-by-the-Sea are used to being in the travel press. Typically, we’re receiving accolades for being a beautiful place to experience opulent luxury and a level of class that’s almost exclusive to the southern coast of New England.

However, the folks at Travel & Leisure magazine have run a little survey to determine the World’s Friendliest Cities. The funny thing about a ranking of cities by friendliness is that if you turn it upside down, you get a ranking of the World’s Unfriendliest Cities, where Newport, RI ranks in at #29.

According to T & L:

This coastal town, with its clutch of ultra-luxe B&Bs and the staggering mansions along the Cliff Walk, is certainly attractive, but the wealth and exclusivity make themselves known to out-of-towners (even if you’re just visiting from another well-to-do city).  “It’s too crowded,” one reader reported, “and the locals don’t want you there!”

Now, everyone knows a few locals on the island who absolutely despise tourists. They’re generally the same locals who despise:

  • Paying for parking.
  • Paying cover charges.
  • Paying more than $10 for a meal.
  • Leaving the island.
  • Any music that came out after they graduated high school.
  • Carpetbaggers

However, a tourist in downtown Newport is as likely to run into such a local as a tourist in downtown Mumbai is likely to run into a tiger. The tourist-hating local spends their summers far away from the crowds of Bellevue and Thames, preferring to spend their time in Middletown, Portsmouth and Miantonomi Park, possibly making a trek down to Broadway to see a friend’s band play…but that’s it.

So, if the “If it’s called ‘tourist season’, why aren’t we allowed to shoot them?” crowd isn’t to blame, who is?

Well, when one finds themselves on a list as Newport has, it’s important to see what kind of company we’re in. That’s where it gets kind of interesting.

Let’s take a look at our first suspect…


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