Big Vt. tourist draw ranked among world’s biggest ‘tourist traps’ by USA Today

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The Ben & Jerry’s factory tour in Waterbury may not be worth the hype according to a recent study.

The factory is typically one of Vermont’s biggest tourist attractions, but a USA Today analysis of Google reviews found it ranks high on the list of tourist traps worldwide, coming in at number 22 for being a disappointing attraction.

USA Today says it analyzed more than 20 million Google reviews of the 500 most popular tourist attractions in the world. They looked for words and phrases like tourist trap, overrated or expensive.

Some Vermonters agree with the ranking.

“My experience with being at Ben and Jerry’s wasn’t really all that great,” said Samuel Parsons of Waterbury.

Parsons says he doesn’t like to deal with the parking problems.

“When you think you’re going into the visitors’ parking, it’s like, ‘Ah shoot, there’s no parking at all.’ And then when you go into the trucker parking lot, it’s still packed either way,” he said.

Ben & Jerry’s website says they offer 30-minute guided tours.

“I would like to see their tour be longer than 20 minutes,” Parsons said.

Other Vermonters enjoy having the iconic ice cream factory in their backyard.

“It’s exciting as a Waterbury resident to have Ben and Jerry’s here,” said Jenna Danyew of Waterbury. “Even visiting it multiple times I think it is an enjoyable, interesting piece of Vermont history and culture.”

Businesses benefit, too. Co-owner of the Tiny Acorn, Bob Dain, says he has a lot of tourists come to his toy store after going to Ben & Jerry’s.

“Waterbury has always been a good place for business, small businesses, primarily, not just because of Ben & Jerry’s as an attraction for people, which it is. It’s a significant one. But also because we’re considered the crossroads of recreation,” Dain said.

He says he wasn’t expecting the factory to be ranked so high in a list of “tourist traps.”

“Yes, certainly my wife was surprised. We’ve always known Ben & Jerry’s was a big draw for tourists,” Dain said.

Despite his sour review, Parsons says he likes the free samples and staff which makes him want to go back again.

“If I had to go there again, I definitely would but since I’m a Waterbury resident, I would definitely just walk there,” he said.

I reached out to Ben & Jerry’s for a comment on the ranking. They said: “It’s an honor just to be nominated with the likes of Graceland, Stonehenge and the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves of New Zealand. Otherwise, no COWment.”

Click here to see the full USA Today analysis.