Our experiences of a country are undoubtedly influenced by the people we meet along the way. So, it should follow that the nicer, friendlier and happier its people, the more enjoyable a country is to visit (like the Cayman Islands; the photo above is courtesy of Don McDougall | Cayman Islands Department of Tourism). Which makes us wonder, what are the friendliest countries in the world?
Determining the friendliness of a country will never be an exact science – there are just too many variables. Some would argue it’s not possible to assess the friendliness of one person, let alone millions of them.
We won’t pretend we have the answer, but one international survey could give us an idea.
Between May and July this year, the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey asked more than 5,000 expatriates living in about 100 different countries to rate their host countries on 55 economic and social experiences.
The results are freely available on a well-designed, easily-navigable website. The website gives you the option to hone in on the aspects of expat life you’re interested in. To gauge friendliness we’ve selected “making friends”, “making local friends”, “fitting in the new culture”, “integrating into the community”, “feeling welcome at work” and “social life”.
Again, we never said this was scientific! But this mix of gives us the following top 10 friendliest countries in the world:
Compare our top 10 with Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s friendliest countries from 2010 and there’s quite a difference! Only Thailand makes both lists (anyone who’s been there will surely agree it’s deserving of its place). The HSBC survey results overlook notoriously welcoming countries like Ireland and Fiji (both on the Lonely Planet list) – which might simply be down to there being too few expats living in those countries for them to be part of the results.
What do you think? Is there a particular nationality that you’ve found to be really happy and friendly? What about the opposites – are there any countries that you’d describe as unwelcoming? We’d love to know. Tweet us, or comment below.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…