Bolivia was ranked the unfriendliest country for travelers in the World Economic Forum report. The category 'Attitude of population toward foreign visitors' is just one of many used to rank countries in the new Travel and Tourism Competitive Index. Bolivia ranked 110th out of 140 countries in the overall index results. On the positive side, it performed well in price competitiveness due mainly to low hotel accommodation costs.
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Less welcome here —
Venezuela, Russia, Kuwait and Latvia rounded out the top five unfriendliest countries for tourists. Russia (third most unwelcoming) ranked 63rd overall for tourism competitiveness, blighted in the report with low marks for ground transport infrastructure and other items. The report stated, "safety and security are also of serious concern, with a high level of crime and violence and a lack of trust in the police to provide protection from crime."
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The friendlier nations —
On the positive end of the scale, Iceland (pictured) and New Zealand were the friendliest countries for tourists. Morocco, Macedonia FYR, Austria and Senegal were next best. Iceland ranked 16th in the overall Travel and Tourism Competitive Index and New Zealand, 12th.
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Topping the tourism index... —
Switzerland led the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index rankings for the fifth straight year since the index's inception. It performed well in almost all aspects. According to the report, "Switzerland's infrastructure, especially ground transport, is among the best in the world. The country also boasts top marks for its hotels and other tourism-specific facilities, with excellent staff thanks to the availability of qualified labor to work in the industry -- perhaps not surprising in a country that holds many of the world's best hotel management schools."
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Spain on the up —
Despite its economic condition, Spain was the country in the top 10 that showed the most improvement since the last index in 2011. It moved up four places to 4th. "Spain continues to lead in cultural resources, ranking 1st this year in this area because of its extremely numerous World Heritage sites (2nd) and its large number of international fairs and exhibitions (3rd), as well as its significant sports stadium capacity. Its tourism infrastructure is another strength," the report stated.
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Best performer in the Americas —
The United States was the highest-ranked country in the Americas and 6th overall in the competitive index. It received high marks for business environment and "has excellent air transport infrastructure, high quality tourism infrastructure, as well as a strong focus on customer satisfaction." Areas for improvement were ground transport and the perception of safety and security.