THE BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN THE WORLD IN 2021(1): will Accra make the list next year?

THE BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN THE WORLD IN 2021(1): will Accra make the list next year?

In the midst of the COVID-19 and as destinations around the world are bouncing back to normal it important to see that the appeal of a city is a great factor in generating the needed tourism flow. The list of the top 10 best cities in the world was released by Time Out magazine recently. The list features 37 cities, and San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Manchester top the list. Unfortunately, Accra was nowhere near the 37 cities just as only one African city made it among the top 37.

When it comes to the best cities in Africa, Accra still lacks behind. Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey has been on a crusade to “Make Accra Work again” in his bid to make Accra move up among the best. He recently hit the streets of Accra to rid the city of filth and illegal structures. Some containers located along waterways and drains were pulled down by the sanitation task force officers.

He bemoaned the devastating state of the surrounding that had major drains along principal streets choked with filth. He also ordered the demolition of erected structure on water ways, the removal of containers and kiosks located at unauthorized places. The minister must be commended and supported. One important fact that keep resonating from all researches of the most beautiful and best kept cities is that most residents contribute to making the cities clean and great to live. The recent report of the census revealed the about 50% of all kiosks are located in the Greater Accra region.

The multi dollar question is, what make Accra so attractive to kiosk loving people? Could it be that they come to Accra to make ends meet and because they can’t afford to rent a house result to cheaper options in the way of a kiosks and containers. I once saw someone who used a lotto kiosk as his sleeping place. I was really shock considering the size of the lotto kiosk. These are the realities we face in this battle. The best cities I believe might have gone through these same challenges we face today yet they overcame. We shall win the battle if we all co-operate and support government in making Accra work again.

The findings of a new poll by international culture and entertainment magazine Time Out questioned 27,000 city-dwellers from Melbourne to Madrid, Chicago to Copenhagen and Tel Aviv to Tokyo to find out the best cities in the world. The poll recognises all the great things these places have achieved over the past 18 months during the Covid-19 crisis. They were ranked not solely based on the food and culture but also the community projects, green space, and sustainability projects. In short, the cities which were not only thinking about the now but also the future. Cities that were trying to make life better for the present and next generation.

This year, San Francisco in the US has been ranked number one among the best cities in the world, according to Time Out. The outlet said it is because it had one of the strictest Covid-19 responses in the US. Moreover, businesses got creative to stay afloat, communities thrived with unique aid networks, people helped the needy, and more. San Francisco also led the way in progressive politics, sustainability, pleasant weather that allows for outdoor dining year-round, and hundreds of parklets.

Additionally, Amsterdam and Manchester earned second and third place in the list that features about 37 cities from around the world. Here are the ones that made the top 10: There is a lot we can learn from these cities and make Accra a better city to attract tourists.

  1. San Francisco

What makes us great: San Francisco has never been known to follow the pack. And when things got tough over the past year, SF sprang into action with one of the strictest Covid responses in the US. But that didn’t dampen community spirit in the Bay Area: businesses got creative to stay afloat, while innovative initiatives like the SF New Deal put restaurant employees to work making meals for those in need. Neighbours stepped up to take care of each other through far-reaching mutual aid networks, and one genius even had the idea of hanging sourdough starters from trees to fuel all the baking people took up.

If only all cities had: Hundreds of beautifully crafted parklets that now make the city feel like one giant street party (plus the kind of weather that allows for outdoor dining year-round).

We’re leading the way in: Progressive politics. This former hippie enclave came first in the ‘progressive’ category – with 73 percent of respondents describing it as such – and second in ‘sustainability’. It was also the most likely to be called ‘accepting’. —Clara Hogan, Time Out San Francisco

  1. Amsterdam

What makes us great: During the pandemic, Amsterdam has felt the absence of culture and social life more acutely than most. Yet the city has used the time wisely, focusing inwards on its famous beauty, history and community spirit – while vowing to do away with the coffeeshops, brothels and drunken debauchery that so blighted its historic centre. In this year’s poll, 47 percent of Amsterdammers said the city was ‘green’ and 27 percent described it as sustainable. That may sound low, but for those descriptors, Amsterdam’s scores were among the highest. During last year’s lockdowns, the city aimed to cement its status as a modern, environmentally-aware metropolis. Seemingly, the strategy has worked.

If only all cities had: Vondelpark, an immense oasis right in the centre that plays host to everything from jam sessions to theatre to sports – truly, the city’s lungs.

We’re leading the way in: All things green. Amsterdam came third in the ‘sustainability’ category, third in ‘green’, and was rated the second-best place for ‘taking a walk-in nature’. —Derek Robertson

  1. Manchester

What makes us great: Manchester sure is a resilient place. All things considered; we’ve thrived over the past year – with communities here really banding together through the toughest of times. Mancunians are a very proud people, and so it’s no wonder 71 percent described the city as ‘creative’ in this year’s Index. This is the home of Factory Records, the Fall and the Smiths, after all, and in 2021 the likes of Manchester International Festival (MIF) and Grayson’s Art Club have continued to show this city really punches when it comes to big, splashy cultural events. On a more local level, small firms like Result CIC offered free mental health support to frontline workers, while the Eagle and Child pub gave away 4,500 meals to vulnerable locals. If only all cities had: The vision that has brought new venue The Factory to life. It’s about to open as a permanent home for MIF, bringing world-class art and performance to Manchester all year round.

We’re leading the way in: General great vibes. This city has a rep for knowing how to have a good time, and it came as no surprise to us that it was voted top for ‘nightlife’, ‘creativity’, ‘community spirit’, ‘friendliness’ and ‘getting to know your neighbours’

  1. Copenhagen

What makes us great: Denmark is widely regarded as one of the happiest places in the world, so it makes sense that 66 percent of Copenhageners said the city was ‘relaxing’ in our poll. General quality of life is high here, and no doubt the city’s many innovative green initiatives help put locals’ minds at ease: 60 percent of us think of the city as ‘green’. But there’s so much more to Copenhagen than hygge and radical dual-purpose energy plants like CopenHill. In fact, 82 percent of residents find it easy to discover ‘new and surprising things’ in the city – and we can all raise a glass of aquavit to that.

If only all cities had: A cycling infrastructure that not only reduces pressure on the planet, but keeps residents’ commute times down too.

We’re leading the way in: All things green (and we really are – sorry Amsterdam). The Danish capital came top in the ‘sustainability’ category and second in the world for ‘green’. —Sorcha McCrory

  1. New York

What makes us great: If there’s one thing that defines New Yorkers, it’s a certain brash resilience. That’s why it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that NYC got high marks for just that quality in this year’s survey, coming in as the ‘most resilient’ of all North American cities. From the continued success of its Open Restaurants initiative (which transformed sidewalks into vibrant community hubs) to its new Key to NYC programme (encouraging vaccine uptake), Gotham has managed to survive and thrive over the past 12 months. Thanks in large part to that iconic can-do attitude, it found creative solutions to changing health precautions – and now the streets are buzzing once again.

If only all cities had: Their very own floating ‘island’ park hosting cultural events that are free to all.

We’re leading the way in: Being a truly exhilarating place to live. NYC was voted the most ‘exciting’ city in the world and ranked second for ‘discovering new things’. —Will Gleason, Time Out New York

Philip Gebu is a Tourism Lecturer. He is the C.E.O of FoReal Destinations Ltd, a Tourism Destinations Management and Marketing Company based in Ghana and with partners in many other countries. Please contact Philip with your comments and suggestions. Write to [email protected] / [email protected].

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