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.
5. United Kingdom
6. United States
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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?