Skip to main content

World's unfriendliest nations for tourists?

By Frances Cha, CNN
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT)
Bolivia was ranked the unfriendliest country for travelers in the World Economic Forum report. The category 'Attitude of population toward foreign visitors' is just one of many used to rank countries in the new Travel and Tourism Competitive Index. Bolivia ranked 110th out of 140 countries in the overall index results. On the positive side, it performed well in price competitiveness due mainly to low hotel accommodation costs. Bolivia was ranked the unfriendliest country for travelers in the World Economic Forum report. The category 'Attitude of population toward foreign visitors' is just one of many used to rank countries in the new Travel and Tourism Competitive Index. Bolivia ranked 110th out of 140 countries in the overall index results. On the positive side, it performed well in price competitiveness due mainly to low hotel accommodation costs.
HIDE CAPTION
World's unfriendliest nation is...?
Less welcome here
The friendlier nations
Topping the tourism index...
Spain on the up
Best performer in the Americas
Seychelles leads Africa
And in Asia...
Building a 'cultural resource base'
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World's unfriendliest country towards tourists is Bolivia
  • Foreign visitors feel most welcome in Iceland and New Zealand
  • Rankings part of WEF's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013
  • Switzerland again the most competitive country

(CNN) -- When traveling, some countries just don't like you. Or at least, it can certainly feel that way.

A new report, put out earlier this month by the World Economic Forum, has ranked which countries roll out the welcome mat to travelers and which give the cold shoulder.

The "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013" ranked 140 countries according to attractiveness and competitiveness in the travel and tourism industries.

Unwelcoming

Among the extensive analyses, one of the most interesting rankings was how welcome tourists are in each country, under the category "Attitude of population toward foreign visitors."

And the world's most unfriendly country, according to the data?

Bolivia took the dubious honor, scoring a 4.1 out of seven on a scale of "very unwelcome" (0) to "very welcome" (7).

Venezuela and the Russian Federation were next.

Interestingly, despite their huge tourist arrivals, South Korea and China tied with four other countries for the eighth least friendly spot.

At the other end of the scale, Iceland and New Zealand were ranked the world's most welcoming nations for visitors.

You can see a top 10 for friendliest and unfriendliest at the bottom of this article.

Strengths and weaknesses

The "friendly" ranking was just one aspect of the report, analyzing each country's competitiveness in travel and tourism. That competitiveness is "based on the extent to which they are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector."

In the overall Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Europe was the top region with the first five positions all held by European countries. Switzerland, Germany and Austria were the top three in that order. Switzerland has headed the ranking since the index began five years ago.

Excellent tourism infrastructure and facilities, business travel appeal, sustainable development of natural resources and rich cultural resources were among the key factors in landing the highest positions in the rankings.

Safety/security, underdeveloped infrastructure and concerns about sustainable development were among the factors bringing down countries' competitiveness.

Haiti scored the lowest on the competitiveness index.

The United States (6th) topped the combined Americas, Singapore (10th) just pushed out Australia and New Zealand to lead the Asia Pacific region, the United Arab Emirates (28th) was the highest performer in the Middle East and the Seychelles (38th) overtook Mauritius to head Africa.

The report emphasized the need for continued development in the travel and tourism sector particularly for its role in job creation in a relatively stagnant global economy. The industry currently accounts for one in 11 jobs in the world.

The report used data compiled from the World Economic Forum's Executive Opinion Survey and hard data from private sources and national and international agencies and organizations such as the ICAO, IATA, UNWTO, World Bank/International Finance Corporation, IUCN, WHO and UNESCO.

Who are the world's best tourists?

The world's coolest nationalities: Where do you rank?

Attitude of population toward foreign visitors
(1 = very unwelcome; 7 = very welcome)

Friendliest

1. Iceland  6.8
2. New Zealand  6.8
3. Morocco  6.7
4. Macedonia, FYR  6.7
5. Austria  6.7
6. Senegal  6.7
7. Portugal  6.6
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina  6.6
9. Ireland  6.6
10. Burkina Faso  6.6

Unfriendliest

1. Bolivia  4.1
2. Venezuela  4.5
3. Russian Federation  5.0
4. Kuwait  5.2
5. Latvia  5.2
6. Iran  5.2
7. Pakistan  5.3
8. Slovak Republic  5.5
9. Bulgaria  5.5
10. Mongolia  5.5

How do your travel experiences compare with this ranking?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0556 GMT (1356 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, these itineraries make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Good cocktails combine with spectacular views across rivers, cityscapes and oceans at these bird-level drinkeries.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1809 GMT (0209 HKT)
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 0226 GMT (1026 HKT)
Cinema loves portraying the lives of expats. Sometimes it gets it right. Sometimes it casts Nick Nolte as a jungle king.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
Don't be intimidated, says a local expert. Here's how to do China without the hassles
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0710 GMT (1510 HKT)
1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner, Audi Museum, Germany
With factory tours and collections of stunning vintage prototypes, southern Germany is petrolhead paradise.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
Every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travelers can score big savings.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0711 GMT (1511 HKT)
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
Morocco's Red City is crammed with stunning gardens, shaded souks and steamy bath houses.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
Santo Stefano Island, Italy
Pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and few tourists -- a stretch on these former penal colonies is no longer a punishment.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0749 GMT (1549 HKT)
Life in Joburg can be stressful. Luckily there are some exceedingly non-stressful places close by.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 0907 GMT (1707 HKT)
Istanbul skyline
CNN's Ivan Watson pays homage to the city he's called home for the past 12 years.
China notches up another superlative achievement as a Nanjing-based artist creates the world's largest and longest anamorphic painting.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 2002 GMT (0402 HKT)
In what is undoubtedly the world's "coolest" surf video, photographer Chris Burkhard endures freezing temperatures, blizzards and injury to capture Arctic waves and their riders.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0339 GMT (1139 HKT)
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one that travels between London and New York. It is the world's busiest route and there are few lengths airlines won't go to in the hopes of getting a piece of the action.
ADVERTISEMENT