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TOP 10: World's friendliest countries for tourists

Last updated on: May 25, 2013 16:27 IST

TOP 10: World's friendliest countries for tourists

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According to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), these countries are most friendly towards tourists. Have you made your travel plans already?

The World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 recently listed out the most and the least friendly nations in the world. For this ranking, the surveyed were asked: "How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?" 

Here are the countries that made it to the top ten.

10. Burkina Faso

Even though it receives a small number of tourists each year, the African county of Burkina Faso is said to be an ideal destination for those wanting to explore the continent's culture and music.

Take a camel ride into the desert and sleep on the sand or a swim in the waterfalls outside of Banfora.

Banfora also has a lake where you can go hippo viewing in pirogues and to its west are the Sindou peaks that are a great venue for a picnic.

Even though Burkina Faso isn't one of the richest countries -- a large part of the economy runs on international aid -- it is one of the friendliest for tourists from across the world. 

Burkina Faso rated 6.6 on the scale of one to seven on attitude towards foreign visitors.

Image: Peaks of Fabedougou in Burkina Faso, Africa
Photographs: DamienHR/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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9. Ireland

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Sharing the same rating as Burkina Faso is Ireland, a country that boasts of the amazing lunar landscape of the Giant's Causeway, a spectacular 1,448km of spectacular coastline and the River Shannon -- the longest river in the British Isles.

Head out to the remote and beautiful islands and to a warm race of people that love their myths and legends and fairytales as much as we do!


Image: Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland. Hexagonal basalts.
Photographs: Petr Broz/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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8. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Two decades after the breakout of the 1992 Bosnian war, the landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina is making the region a tourist playground.

The country offers some breathtaking views, making driving around it a photographer's delight (though the roads can be tad treacherous).

Include in your things to do, rafting along the various rivers including Neretva, Una and Tara among others as well as kayaking and canoing.

Explore the canyons of the Svrakava and Cvrcka rivers or hike up the various peaks of the country and go fly-fishing in the North-West of the Bosanska Krajina, around the river Sana.

Bosnia and Herzegovina rated 6.6 on the scale of one to seven on attitude towards foreign visitors.


Image: A man jumps into a lake, formerly an abandoned mine, in the village of Moscanica, 80km north from the capital of Sarajevo. The mine and an abandoned machine lie at a depth of 30 metres beneath the lake, according to locals.
Photographs: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

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7. Portugal

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Among the warmer countries of Europe, Portugal boasts of medieval castles and quaint villages, as well as breathtaking hillsides and coastlines that can make you fall in love with the country in a matter of hours.

Visit the sun-kissed beaches of Cascais and Sagres as well as the protected coves and end-of-the-world cliffs where you wouldn't be able to make out the difference between the local and the traveller.


Image: A couple walks to the beach during sunset at Lisandro beach on the Atlantic sea coast of Portugal, 40 km north of Lisbon.
Photographs: Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters

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6. Senegal

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With arid desert on one side and tropical forests on the other, Senegal offers pretty much everything you can wish for from a vacation.

Check out Dakar, the capital that is elegant as well as vibrant at the same time or hit the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ile de Goree or the island of Goree.

Head out to Saint-Louis, West Africa's first French settlement known for its architectural beauty or simply go to the various beaches that are perfect for sunbathing or swimming.

If you want to be by yourself or be thrust into the happening life of young urban Africa, Senegal is the place to be.


Image: Senegalese followers of the Mouride sect of Islam line up to enter the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Touba during an annual pilgrimage. Known as
Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

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5. Austria

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We may remember Austria from the charming movie The Sound of Music but there is a lot more than the hills and palaces that the country has to offer.

Ski down Harakiri, the steepest groomed slope in Austria or visit the pretty palaces of Vienna or simply go bathing in glacial lakes of Salzkammergut.

If none of this interests you, check out Carnuntum's archaeological sites and Stone Age settlement as well as the various medieval festivals and soak in the culture that Mozart Strauss enriched.


Image: A cyclist rides past remnants of a recent winter avalanche, on a sunny spring day in the western Austrian city of Innsbruck.
Photographs: Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

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4. Macedonia

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With orthodox monks jostling for space alongside young rebellious teenagers clad in the latest fashions and its wilderness offering wide opportunities for hikers and skiers, Macedonia ranks number four in the list of friendliest nations in the world.

And as the Lonely Planet guide points out, apart from all this, 'it's the hospitality of the people of this most southern of Slavic nations that will make your visit truly memorable'.

Booked tickets already?


Image: A view of the 10th century monastery of St. John the Baptist
Photographs: Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters
Tags: Macedonia

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3. Morocco

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Just a ferry ride away from Spain, Morocco is worlds apart from Europe, its culture deeply Islamic. 

Surely there are the cosmopolitan cities of Rabat and Casablanca but for most part Morocco reflects a past that seems rooted in medieval times.

Even so, the colonial legacy is seen in various aspects of everyday life lending the country an oddly exotic feel.

If you happen to have a fair bit of time on your hand, go hiking in the Atlas Mountains or simply laze around in the Atlantic beach resorts of Essaouira or Asilah or even better lose yourself in the narrow lanes of Marrakesh.

Morocco quite literally has something for everyone.


Image: An aerial view of the village of Zaouia Sidi Hamza, in the High Atlas, Morocco.
Photographs: Eve Coulon/Reuters

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2. New Zealand

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Year after year, travellers who visit this magical country list New Zealand as one of their most favourite countries in the world. And why not? With its lush forests, snow-capped mountains and breathtaking beaches NZ has nothing but pristine beauty to offer.

Apart from counting Lord of the Rings and rugby as their national obsession, as Rough Guide points out, New Zealanders want you 'to have a really, really good time'.

There is a reason why New Zealand appears this high up on the list. As a Rough Guide introduction to the country reads: "It is in the interactions with exuberant, everyday Kiwis that lasting memories will be made. As a Maori proverb suggests: He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people!)."


Image: Birds fly over a float plane on the shores of Lake Taupo, known for its natural scenic beauty and outdoor activities.
Photographs: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

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1. Iceland

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It is impossible to not fall in love with Iceland once you've been there.

From Europe's largest waterfalls to barren highlands and the continent's largest desert to blazing volcanoes and geysers and glaciers, Iceland was probably Europe's best kept secret till about 20 years ago.

Today as it recovers from the 2008's global meltdown, you can make the best of low prices and also experience warm hospitality of its people who are working hard to make it back to the top.

Iceland topped the list of the countries friendliest to tourists in the world.


Image: Bathers swim in the geothermal hot springs at Iceland's Blue Lagoon near Grindavik. The blue colour of the water is caused by minerals and a blue green algae.
Photographs: Bob Strong/Reuters
Tags: Iceland , Europe

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