Is this the world's friendliest city?

Is this the world's friendliest city?
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Known for breeding tough leaders like ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson but also comedians like Billy Connolly, this city may have a steely exterior but it's soft at heart.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, eclipsing the country's capital, Edinburgh. Straddling the banks of the River Clyde, in its industrial heyday it was the world's shipbuilding yard but following decimation of its heavy industries, the city has spent the last 30 years reinventing itself.

Today Glasgow is a leading example of "how cities can change their economies," according to Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

These days, beyond its 32,000-strong workforce in the tourist industry, Glasgow is a hub for low-carbon technology expertise. SSE, the UK's biggest producer of renewable electricity, has its European green-energy HQ here, and Iberdrola/ScottishPower its global base for working on offshore wind-farm facilities. Other industries well represented in Glasgow include life sciences, with companies such as Life Technologies Corp, BioOutsource and SB Drug Discovery, and engineering, with global names such asBAE Systems and Thales Optronics.

Glasgow has also become a popular destination for Europe's conference organisers, winning 3,323 international and domestic conferences and adding £1.2 billion to the local economy in the last decade, Taylor said. Key venues include the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre with its distinctive armadillo-shaped Clyde Auditorium and five exhibition halls, and the University of Strathclyde's new state-of-the-art Technology and Innovation Centre.

Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living Survey ranks Glasgow as one of the least expensive cities in the world to visit. Locals - known as Weegies or Glaswegians - are also fiercely proud of being hailed as the "friendliest city in the world" by Conde Nast Traveller magazine and travel publisher Rough Guides.

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