World Economic Forum’s released the list of the most friendly countries in the world – Iceland and New Zealand taking the first place in “attitude of population towards foreign visitors” category.
Some of the surprises were Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Burkina Faso as the fourth, eighth and tenth friendliest countries, despite not being internationally renowned for tourism. While seven of WEF’s top ten friendliest countries were new in 2013, Austria performed well in WEF’s list, climbing from tenth in 2011 to fifth this year.
The report also ranked the countries least friendly towards foreigners. Bolivia was down on the list of least welcoming among those surveyed, and was joined in the bottom ten by Venezuela, Russia, Kuwait, Iran, and Pakistan, among others.
It is important to note that WEF’s ranking of friendliness towards foreigners does not actually take into account the opinions of any foreigners. The rankings are based on an Executive Opinion Survey distributed to business leaders in 140 countries, who are asked to rank their own countries on such topics as infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and economic policy. For this particular ranking, those surveyed were asked “How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?”
Due to its reliance on the Executive Opinion Survey, the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report reveals as much about the general perceptions of the business class in different countries as it does about the actual conditions present. For example, when asked the question “to what extent does the threat of terrorism impose costs on businesses in your country?,” American business leaders’ estimations earned the country the 21st highest rank, in between Guatemala and Chad. Except for Israel, the U.S. was the only highly developed country in the top 45.
Check out color-coded map of the World Economic Forum rankings produced by Max Fisher of The Washington Post for a more holistic view of the varying levels of friendliness in the world.