If you want to be sure of a warm welcome, head to New Zealand. WEF ranked the country the second friendliest towards foreigners in the world and a recent survey of expats even voted it the most welcoming country for expatriates. Austria also performed well in WEF’s list, climbing from tenth in 2011 to fifth this year.
Despite not being internationally renowned for tourism, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Burkina Faso were rated, respectively, as the fourth, eighth and tenth friendliest countries towards foreigners.
Seven of WEF’s top ten friendliest countries were new in 2013.
The report also ranked the countries least friendly towards foreigners. Bolivia gained the dubious distinction of least welcoming among those surveyed, and was joined in the bottom ten by Venezuela, Russia, Kuwait, Iran, and Pakistan, among others.
The rankings were included in the Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013, which was released in March and gauges the health of the international tourism industry through a variety of metrics.
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 arebased 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.
For a more holistic view of the varying levels of friendliness in the world, check out the color-coded map of the World Economic Forum rankings produced by Max Fisher of The Washington Post.
Check out our slideshow below to see the country ranked most welcoming to foreigners in the world.