Saturday, March 16th 2013 - 03:37 UTC

Bolivia and Venezuela ranked world's unfriendliest countries for tourists; overall bad score for Mercosur

A new report, put out earlier this month by the World Economic Forum, has ranked which countries roll out the welcome mat to travellers 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.

Brazil hosting the World Cup and Olympics ranked 51 out of 140 countries reviewed

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 according to this rating Bolivia took the dubious honour, 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.

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 in the top three and 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.

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.

Mercosur countries, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, plus associates Chile, Bolivia and Peru did not fare encouragingly in the global ranking. The best positioned was Brazil (51) that next year is hosting the World Cup and in 2016 the Olympic Games.

Chile figures in position 58, Uruguay, 59, Argentina, 61, Peru, 73, Venezuela 113 and Paraguay, 115.

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.

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

8 comments Feed

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1 Anglotino (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 04:23 am Report abuse
An amazing read, you can find out a lot more here:

I quote:
“Argentina... places 61st overall” ”Argentina has strong natural resources (20th), with four World Heritage sites and very diverse fauna. The country also benefits from a relatively high airport density, abundant seat kilometers, and a number of operating airlines, although the quality of air transport continues to be highlighted as a problem area (ranked 113rd). There is a mixed picture in the area of policy rules
and regulations: on one hand, there have been some improvements such as greater openness in bilateral Air Service Agreements (25th). On the other hand, there are still concerns about property rights (132nd), and rules on FDI do not encourage investment (138th). Further, the quality of its ground transport remains underdeveloped (120th) and environmental regulation is neither sufficiently stringent (ranked 102th) nor well enforced (ranked 129th).“

And for comparison:
”Australia, which improves by two places and is now at 11th position overall. Australia’s T&T competitiveness continues to be characterized by a number of clear strengths, including its rich natural resources and the highest number of World Heritage natural sites in the world, benefiting from diverse fauna and a comparatively pristine natural environment.“ ”And given the country’s distance from other continents
and the related importance of domestic air travel to overcome the large distances between major sites, its competitiveness is also buttressed by excellent air transport infrastructure (ranked 4th) as well as good general tourism infrastructure (ranked 20th). Australia also sees some improvements in the policy rules and regulations affecting the sector, especially its increased openness in bilateral Air Service Agreements. In terms of visa requirements, Australia has one of the most advanced visa policies in the world”

That's how you manage an export sector.
2 Boovis (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 08:22 am Report abuse
When I visited Russia about ten years ago, they constantly tried to charge me double for everything because I was a tourist. It was the most corrupt country I'd been too and I know nothing has changed, if anything it's become worse since then. Once I became wise to their behaviour, I spent the rest of the holiday pretending to be Russian and saved loads of money. The country needs another revolution, quickly.
3 mastershakejb (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 09:08 am Report abuse
I actually found Chile and Uruguay to be very welcoming. Argentina should be in the bottom 10 worst countries. Brazil was mediocre.
4 Austral (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 01:20 pm Report abuse
I agree with all of the observations on the lack of planning and infrastructure in Argentina but I have to say that I have always had excellent experiences with ordinary people, hoteliers and restaurant staff.

@3 I agree with you on Uruguay - lovely, open, enquiring people.
5 JohnN (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 02:19 pm Report abuse
A bit surprising that Venezuela rates such a dismal #113 and it might be due in part to the nature of the kind of composite indexing that is done: Venezuela's Caribbean coastal and islands attractions are vastly outweighed by the omni-present concern for security, in light of Venezuela's #5 world ranking in homicides “express kidnappings”, robbery, etc.
6 Captain Poppy (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 02:27 pm Report abuse
Austral.....I agree with you. My worst experiences in Argentina were with the taxi's and occasionally asking for a receipt as some, a lot do not like to give them for tax reasons.....a life threatening But I never had issues with ordinary people, hoteliers and the restaurant staff any time I am there.
7 ElaineB (#) Mar 16th, 2013 - 04:29 pm Report abuse
I don't know how you can rate the friendliness of a country. It depends on so much, including one's own attitude. 99.9% of people I meet when travelling are friendly and polite if you are friendly and polite. The people that are downright unpleasant really are few and far between.

That said, I just met a snake whilst walking back to my casita that was not at all friendly!
8 GeoffWard2 (#) Mar 17th, 2013 - 06:40 pm Report abuse
The opposite of 'friendly' is not necessarily 'unfriendly' ... it might be 'reserved'.

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