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The Paris Syndrome Report is named after the city that many people dream of going but once there, the expectations of the city are so overhyped and romanticized that first-time visitors are often disappointed.
A new study by the folks at Radical Storage analyzed more than 826,000 TripAdvisor reviews to determine which locales were the most underwhelming for travelers and which ones were underrated.
They also utilized the international visitor numbers from EuroMonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations report (pre-COVID) and Mastercard’s Global Cities Index to determine the list.
“It’s been said that much of our happiness for vacations is in the preparation for it, sometimes even more than the actual vacation, so it can be common for people to become disappointed when expectations aren’t met,” clinical psychologist Dr. Tricia Wolanin said in the report.
“Some may continue to feel a sense of stress for trying to find that high when a trip is lacklustre,” she continued. “Due to the constant search of hitting that pivotal moment, there may be an increased sense of anxiety temporarily.”
That said, Paris didn’t even make the cut — a big difference from 2021 when it topped the list. In fact, no European city is considered that unsatisfying.
Orlando, the home of Disney World and America’s theme park capital, was considered the world’s most underwhelming city.
Nearly 1 in 5 (19.5%) of tourist reviews waxed on about how disenchanting their vacation experiences were.
The increased prices are a factor, as a day or more at Disney or Universal Studios can work out to be the same as a whole other vacation, while others complained about the crowds.
Orlando also had the highest percentage of reviews where tourists felt “ripped off” as well as the place where that had the most mentions of how “rude” people were.
Jakarta, Indonesia, came in at second with 13.5% of its comments being negative, while Pattaya, one of Thailand’s party hotspots, landed in third place with 10.5%.
Another Indonesian city, Denpasar, came in fourth with 9.9% while Guilin, China, at 9.7%, placed fifth.
Johannesburg, South Africa, Da Nang, Vietnam, Ha Long, Vietnam, Shenzhen, China and Beijing, China, rounded out the top 10.
The next worst U.S. city was Honolulu, which landed the 12th spot, while Toronto and Vancouver were the only two Canadian cities to make the list, coming in at 61 and 83, respectively.
But future travellers, don’t fret. There are cities that pleasantly surprised tourists, making them the destinations you may want to consider planning for.
Budapest came in as the No. 1 city that went above and beyond what visitors were expecting from their trip.
Hungary’s capital earned the kind of raves of which a Michelin chef dreams, with a resounding 96.2% of its reviews containing commendations of pleasant surprise and general kudos.
Budapest visitors recognized the most “beautiful” city’s stunning architecture and recommended strolling along the Danube River.
Brussels was the second most surprising city, followed by Zurich, Dublin, Lima, Lisbon, Mexico City, Nice, Auckland and Sydney.