One year ago, seaside port city Charleston shocked not only Holy City residents, but the entire world when it landed on top of a list that deemed it the No. 1 tourist destination on the planet.

That came a year after the Holy City topped the list issued annually and voted on by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine as the top tourist destination in America.

Where will the city steeped in history with baskets of local charm and great dining rank this year in the magazine’s report?

We will find out this week.

The rankings usually come out in mid-October. A little bird tells me this year will be no different. The little bird didn’t know where Charleston would land this year or wouldn’t say, but it’s likely the city will be near the top, if not at the top.

After all, where do you go after being named the No. 1 place for tourists to visit in the entire universe, or at least that part reachable by car or airplane? It’s hard to beat No. 1 in the world. From there, you either stay where you are or drop down the list.

Will there be a repeat? Will the city still be able to proclaim, “We’re No. 1!”? Or will Charleston slip a notch or two? And if it does, what does it really mean?

The city hasn’t changed much since last year.

It still offers horse-drawn carriage rides past historic old homes. It still offers shrimp and grits in different, delicious recipes at innumerable fine dining establishments across town. It still offers heaping helpings of friendliness and Southern charm difficult to duplicate elsewhere on the globe. It still offers access to nearby plantations where moss-draped oaks and dirt lanes hark back to the past. It’s still the place where the Late Unpleasantness began, a tourist draw no matter what.

If there is a change in the city, it’s the long-stalled development finally accelerating on the upper peninsula. Construction cranes sit where dilapidated, vacant buildings once blighted the landscape. Scaffolding lines many storefronts in the commercial district, an indication of progress, an infusion of capital, and a stamp of confidence in the local economy’s long-term health.

Those are all good things.

So no matter where Charleston lands on this year’s ranking, the Holy City will always be No. 1 in the eyes of many of those in the Lowcountry who are fortunate enough to experience it every day.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or