It seems we don't think much of the attractiveness of Philadelphians, according to a recent online survey entitled "America's favorite cities" undertaken jointly by Travel & Leisure News and CNN Headline news.
60,000 respondents who took part in the survey ranked the people of Philadelphia rock bottom in four of the categories surveyed. Respondents said that those living in the 'City of Brotherly Love' were the least active, least worldly, least stylish and the least friendly in the United States. The city with a population approaching 1.5 million just beat out Washington DC and Dallas/Fort Worth for the bottom spot, while San Diego and Miami topped the poll for attractiveness.
Quick to defend the city and its residents, Amy Farley, senior editor at Travel & Leisure said that the results didn't mean that respondents thought that citizens of Philadelphia were unattractive. She said: "We asked people who took part in the survey to vote on attractiveness, not unattractiveness. The results don't mean that Philadelphia is a bad place to visit or that people there are ugly. The editors at Travel & Leisure believe that Philadelphia has many attractive residents. The perceived attractiveness of the residents of a city is only a miniscule measure factor in assessing a city's merit."
However nicely Ms Farley tries to cushion the blow this is the latest in a recent string of surveys that have knocked the self-esteem of Philadelphia residents. Recently a survey by the American Obesity Society ranked the city in the top ten for having the largest proportion of overweight people for the fifth time in five years, reinforcing the image of Philadelphians as amongst the fattest in the United States.
Pride has dropped even further due to the underachievement of the city's four major sporting franchises that between them haven't scooped a championship title since 1983 when the 76ers won the NBA Championship.
Given the survey results you would be forgiven for thinking that Americans are avoiding the city at all costs, and that nothing could drag them there. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth; in 2006 occupancy rates for the average city center hotel in Philadelphia hit a new high of 73.6 % - the highest since 1998.
Indeed, the data produced by PKF Consulting for a number of city hospitality organisations including the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, showed that for the first time ever occupancy rates on Wednesday and Saturday were running at 81%. This data proves that, whatever the surveys may suggest about the rest of the country's perceptions about Philadelphia's residents, the city is still extremely attractive to leisure visitors and business travellers, and 2007 is set to be a boom year for the hotel and hospitality sector.