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Holy City still top choice for travelers

  • Updated

Charleston has been named as the nation’s top small city for the sixth time in a row.

Condé Nast Traveler announced its annual Readers’ Choice Awards Tuesday.

“The readers of Condé Nast Traveler are lauded as some of the world’s most discerning, and the hospitality scene in Charleston continues to charm,” Linn Lesesne, board chair of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be recognized once again for our friendly people, historic ambiance and culture, award-winning restaurants, one-of-a-kind shopping and renowned accommodations.”

The median household income of the readers is about $108,000, according to Condé Nast.

A record 300,000 readers completed the lengthy survey, rating each city they had visited in the last year for culture, friendliness, atmosphere, restaurants, lodging and shopping. They could enter more than once for chances to win prizes.

Charleston has come out on top in numerous other surveys the last couple of years. This summer, Condé Nast readers chose Charleston as the friendliest city in the world. Also, this summer, Travel + Leisure readers named Charleston the No. 1 city in the world to visit.

Many hotels and restaurants advertise the awards at the top of their web pages.

Partly as a result of the publicity, the number of visitors to Charleston swelled from 4.22 million in 2010 to 5.15 million in 2015, a 22 percent jump, according to the College of Charleston Office of Tourism Analysis.

It’s been good news for hotels, restaurants and shops, but the influx of visitors has also been raising concerns. More than a dozen new hotels are under construction or have been approved in downtown Charleston, and nearly two dozen more are in the works in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston. After council rejected calls for a moratorium, the city came out this summer with a study calling for a regional discussion about how to handle the extra traffic.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.

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