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Atlanta tanks in latest travel survey - Curt Yeomans

Travelers are not being kind to Atlanta.

"Travel + Leisure" magazine recently released the results of its 2011 America's Favorite Cities reader survey.

The results for Atlanta?

Visitors to our city ranked us in the Bottom 10, out of 35 cities, in 52 of the survey's 57 categories (actually, it's in the Bottom 5 in 38 categories).

Our capital city's best showing was a No. 12 ranking in barbeque — and that is down two spots from last year.

comparison, Savannah — the other Georgia city evaluated in the survey — landed in the Top 10 in 33 categories. And, most of those 33 Top 10 finishes could more accurately be described as Top 5 finishes.

In many ways, the rankings of Atlanta and Savannah in the survey demonstrate the extremes that exist in Georgia. Savannah was ranked the No. 1 "Romantic Escape," visitors, while Atlanta was ranked No. 34 in the same category.

Visitors also picked Savannah as the best city to visit in the fall, and the city with the best public parks and outdoor access. Atlanta, meanwhile was ranked No. 30 for places to visit in fall, and No. 32 for public parks and outdoor access.

Savannah was ranked No. 2 for "Architecture and Cool Buildings," "Places to Visit on Valentine's Day," "Driving Ability," "Antique Stores," and "Peace and Quiet." Atlanta, in those same categories, was ranked No. 31, No. 30, No. 34, No. 30, No. 31, respectively.

But, perhaps most damaging (for Atlanta and its supporters) was Atlanta's No. 34 ranking in the "Safety" category. Atlanta officials have long tried to convince us that Atlanta is safe, but it would appear visitors would have none of that kind of talk.

I guess that's what happens when your city's police department is known more for shooting a 92-year old women to death, and arguably violating people's civil rights in controversial bar raids, than it is for protecting the citizenry.

Savannah, the way, was ranked No. 10 in the "Safety" category, visitors.

The survey also gauged the opinions people have of several other major U.S. cities, including: Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Memphis; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville; New Orleans; New York City; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Antonio; San Deigo; San Francisco; Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Other, smaller cities included in the survey include Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Charleston, S.C.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Portland, Maine; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Santa Fe, N.M.

Curt Yeomans covers government and poitics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5.