World's top 10 most tourist-friendly destinations

If you want a destination that truly welcomes tourists, here are your best bets.

World's top 10 most tourist-friendly destinations

Every two years, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report ranks 136 countries on 14 pillars to see which are the most tourist-friendly destinations in the world.

One of the pillars is tourist service infrastructure, which ranks a country on how well it is set up to receive tourists. This rating is calculated by such factors as the number of hotel rooms per capita, access to ATMs, tourism infrastructure, public transport and even the ease with which you can hire a car.

First, let’s look at the top 10 all-round tourist-friendly countries, which take into account international openness and a government’s willingness to promote tourism.

1. Spain

2. France

3. Germany

4. Japan

5. United Kingdom

6. United States

7. Australia

8. Italy

9. Canada

10. Switzerland

But, if you’re looking for an easy holiday, with access to hotels, hire cars and cash machines, as well as all the infrastructure necessary to enjoy a good trip, then these are the top 10 destinations that should be on your list.

10. Canada


If you didn’t already have hundreds of reasons to visit Canada, would the fact that it has the second-highest number of ATMs per capita get you there? Probably not, but the wildlife, cuisine, wine and wonderful road trips should.

9. Germany


Germany may not be known for its friendliness, but it is known for its efficiency and engineering, which is why it’s made its way into the top 10 for tourist service infrastructure. It may only rank 14th in ATMs per person, but it scores very highly in cultural resources and accessibility by air, making it the third best all-round tourist destination.

8. Australia


Our supply of natural and cultural resources, coupled with high scores in travel accessibility puts us in eighth place on the list. One thing that works against us is, when compared to other countries in our region, the high cost of travelling here is quite high. You get what you pay for though, I suppose.

7. United Kingdom


The UK ranks highly in all tourism indicators, with top marks for air and port infrastructure and cultural resources. Add to that its impressive public transport system (with a tip of the cap to its rail system) and seemingly unlimited attractions both modern and historic, and you can see why the UK ranks so highly.

6. Switzerland

Another country known for precision and efficiency, Switzerland rates well on every WEF indicator, with top marks for other Travel and Tourism Competitiveness categories, including safety and security, environmental sustainability and business environment.

Click NEXT to see the top five 

5. Croatia

This Balkan nation has plenty of hotels and cash machines per person and high scores in natural resources and environmental sustainability, along with plenty of tourist attractions, which drags this often-overlooked destination from 32nd overall to fifth best in tourist service infrastructure standards.

4. Portugal


If you’re looking for ATMs, car rental companies and quality of overall tourism infrastructure, then look no further that Portugal. The country also scores highly in safety and security and international openness. Oh, and the weather is fine, too.

3. United States

No one has ever questioned the US for being prepared for anything, except, maybe, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial disaster that was the GFC. But as far as tourism goes, the US has its act together, with ATMs everywhere, no shortage of hotels and hire cars and some of the most efficient airports and ports in the world. The people are pretty friendly, too, and the cost of travel once you’re on the ground is as good as anywhere.

2. Spain


While Spain may be the most tourist-friendly country in the world, it slips to second place in terms of how well it is prepared to receive tourists. Seems the lack of ATMs isn’t enough to keep tourists away from this Mediterranean country, so it’s lucky it ranks ninth in hotel rooms per capita. However you view its service infrastructure, Spain is a top place for a holiday, which is why it is ranked first overall.

1. Austria

Living next door to Germany and Switzerland must rub off on Austria (or is it the other way around?), and the result of all its tourism preparedness gives this nation top billing as the world’s best equipped destination to deal with tourists. Austria is easy on first-time visitors, and it's mixture of classic and contemporary culture, fine cuisine, museums, galleries, historic and modern architecture that’s the envy of all nations, and the fact that it’s capital consistently vies for world’s most liveable city, make it a force majeure when it comes to top travel destinations.

Which of these countries have you visited? Which was your favourite? Can you corroborate these rankings?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    26th May 2018
    Obviously these type of rankings are subjective, I have been to all except Canada, and I agree with the comments in the article, the only country I would hesitate to visit again is Switzerland, I have only been there once but I found the natives to be quite unfriendly, it could have just been the ones I met were having a bad day. If you asked many tourist around the world which country they would like to visit Australia is nearly always the first country mentioned, the only problem for most is the distance.
    26th May 2018
    Totally Jim.
    I have to disagree with you about your spiel about Australia though. Many foreigners want to visit but on the way home remember they were ripped off by unscrupulous tourism operators and businesses which took them for suckers. That gets taken back home. No wonder we have to find new markets.
    I noted Italy was near the bottom of the list. Having recently been to Italy for an extended stay I have to agree. Our assessment is dirty, graffiti ridden, weed infested, expensive, dishonest business and a total dive where tourists are plundered like nowhere else I have ever seen. Much worse than in Oz. Don't believe the advertising from the industry. The reality is nothing like the picture painted and whilst there are a few things worth seeing most are to be avoided, starting with Venice.
    26th May 2018
    Depends where in the countries you travel to and how you get around. Have travelled extensively in Spain by car and train a couple of times and have found it fantastic. People, food, accommodation, travel etc. Much the same for France where I have been 6/7 times. Germany - food was dreadful and people standoffish. Italy nice but driving was a nightmare both times. United Kingdom, great but very very expensive. United States, depends where you go. Australia - it's expensive to travel, accommodation and food.
    26th May 2018
    Some merit but you need to stay longer to get a real feel for a place.
    Germany certainly has some standoffish people but the food from my experience was good and cost of living cheap.
    Italy? Driving indeed tough with Italian drivers lawless and disrespectful of other drivers and pedestrians whom they are happy to run down if you use a pedestrian crossing. Then they cheat you in shops.
    United states? Hit and miss with possibly the worst food in the developed world.
    Travel certainly opens your eyes and one has to be careful of the travel industry which blatantly lies about destinations to get people in. And then if you post the facts they shout you down with all sorts of labels and accusations ultimately ending in vile comments. Our motto now is believe nothing and read plenty of blogs to get an idea. Not foolproof but not bad.
    26th May 2018
    Mick we have usually stayed around 6 weeks each time, so got a reasonable feel for the place. Unfortunately finances don't allow long times! Getting off the beaten track is certainly the way to go. We have found some delightful places. Agree with you about reading all you can, blogs, reviews etc. In Lisbon (Portugal) we found the most amazing little restaurant that became a Fado night club at 10pm. It was full of locals and when we left at 3am it was still going strong. We found it by asking the locals where they went. We had been to a Fado show on a previous trip and it was very commercial, the second one was ten times better.
    26th May 2018
    Yep you sure do stumble across some real gems. Came upon one in Japan a few years and again a few months ago in Italy. Off the beaten track pretty well is the way to go and the best places you ever go to often coincide with detours.
    We made up our minds last year to avoid the Autostrades. The best thing we ever did. Have to feel sorry for our community though where most people take highly overpriced and regulated tours or use the Autostrade a see nothing between departing one destination and arriving at the next, plus the cost of the tolls.
    Shows? Yeah...for younger folk. We only take these in if we do a cruise, which we do precious little of. Can't beat a hire car unless your stress levels prevent you from driving.
    26th May 2018
    We have stayed many times in Italy, France, and Germany, our favourite in Italy is near Lake Garda, in the actual town called Riva Del Garda, the food was good and not that expensive, we have stayed a few different places in France our favourite place was near Monmarte on the outskirts of Paris, we generally try to eat where the locals eat we have had some really good inexpensive meals in cafe/restaurants, we were quite surprised in Germany beautiful countryside, love the bratwurst stopped at the many stalls that sold them everywhere we went, Prague was always on our bucket list and we were not disappointed although we did a trip to Budapest and it was one of the best places we have been to, which was a nice surprise since we hadn't planned to go there, just need to be wary where you go for a drink, one place we went to cost almost 20 euro's for 2 drinks, 2 streets out of the main city area the same 2 drinks were less than 5 euro's.
    26th May 2018
    You are right Mick and Jim. Mick when we were driving we always put in no motorways or tolls into the GPS. Best way to go!. Jim we found the same in Budapest. Kept out of the city centre and the food and drink was amazing and so cheap. Unfortunately we no longer drive in Europe so we have to train it but that get us to where we want to go. We always used to lease a car. Brand new and worked out much cheaper. Longest trip we did was Paris to Provence, through to Spain via Perpignan (a little gem) then down into Spain, along the Med, across the bottom, over to Lisbon up to Porto then back to Lisbon. 5000+k's and loved every minute of it. If you are anywhere near Perpignan take the 'Yellow Canary' which is a little train that takes you up through the mountains. Lovely day out.
    26th May 2018
    Sounds like a fantastic journey, I don't have the confidence to drive in Europe, I can't decide if they are the best or the worst drivers in the world, I normally use coach travel or local busses, it's the best way to meet the locals and I have usually found most people to be very friendly and give you good advice.

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