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…And the World’s Unfriendliest Country Is…Bolivia?

March 20, 2013

How friendly does a country need to be to attract travelers? According to the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness 2013 from the World Economic Forum, friendlier than Bolivia –

And while Iceland’s landscape may be intimidating to some, the Icelandic people are welcoming enough to visitors to land them in the top spot for “Most Friendly Destination.”


When such a list is as high-profile and widely reported as this, does it become a crisis, if you are designated among the “Unfriendly”?

Of course, it easily can, if it is major news in your target markets: you’ll want to monitor the coverage carefully and compare it with inquiries to your website, comments on Facebook and other social media, anecdotal reports form your marketing partners, including tour operators  and travel agents.

It’s an issue other countries have dealt with in the past: some years back, I recall that France launched a “be friendly to tourists” campaign, and in 2010, The Irish Times reported that when the World Expo was held in Shanghai, locals were asked “…not to walk the streets in their pyjamas, to stop spitting and to be nice to visitors.”

Here’s the “Top 10 Most” and “…Least” friendly countries, as reported by CNN


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


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


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

What do you think? Have you visited countries on this list, and do you agree with the rankings?

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  1. Maureen Campbell permalink

    Of the “unfriendly” countries, I have visited only Bulgaria and I would agree. I would add Italy.

    • deercats permalink

      I’ve been to Bulgaria so briefly, I won’t judge (though the architecture of the government buildings in Sofia was certainly off-putting). Your nomination of Italy for least-friendly is an interesting, and surprising, one.

  2. Addressing issues like this start at the very top levels of government with a plan to address it. And a commitment and strong statement from the President saying “This is important!” because it is costing us income, investment and jobs.

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