ST. LOUIS - A new list of America's "safest" cities puts St. Louis at the bottom.
St. Louis ranks 182nd out of 182 cities.
At the same time, St. Louis is earning high marks from a group of hundreds now visiting from around the world.
More than 400 travel professionals from 12 states and 17 countries are here this week as part of the 8th annual Travel South USA International Showcase.
They are touring our top spots and getting to know the place.
“These folks book tours. They do Route 66. They do all kinds of things. International travel and tourism is a big thing for St. Louis and for the United States,” said Tony Sparaino of the group Explore St. Louis, which markets St. Louis as a place to visit, live, and do business. “These folks are a big part of that. They bring those groups here to have the American experience. We’re excited to have them here.”
There are 5 different tours including all the new attractions downtown, Route 66, and our important civil rights sites.
All this, as the financial website, Wallet Hub, releases its new “safe cities” list with criteria ranging from crime to tornado risk to credit scores.
Few put much stock in WalletHub lists but it’s never good to be last on anyone’s list. FBI statistics rank St. Louis high in per capita violent crime, especially murder.
Through spokespersons, Mayor Lyda Krewson and Police Chief, John Hayden, refused comment on the list, citing concerns about its credibility.
For Travel South USA group of world travelers, seeing is believing, more so than headline seeking lists of “best and worst.”
“Tourism in Louisiana is one of the biggest income sources for the state,” said Don Branton, visiting from the New Orleans area. “I’m sure it’s the same for St. Louis as many attractions as you all have. They’re going to make sure the people are going to be able to come in and be safe.”
Sonia Pilovska from Melbourne, Australia, said St. Louis seemed more welcoming than dangerous.
“It’s a great visual. I think if you see a photo of the stadium with the Arch in the background and the city skyline, it’s a really great picture and makes a really nice introduction to St. Louie,” she said.
They expect to be back in St. Louis and to bring a lot more people with them.