Just how friendly are Moroccans? A new report, put out earlier this month by the World Economic Forum, has ranked which countries roll out the welcome mat to travelers and which give the cold shoulder. The good news is that Morocco was in the top three
One of the most frequently asked questions in travel forums by those thinking of visiting Morocco is "Is it safe, are Moroccans welcoming of tourists?" While responses to such questions have always been positive, it is only now that we can report on a qualitative survey. And the answer is an overwhelming "yes"!
The "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013" ranked 140 countries according to attractiveness and competitiveness in the travel and tourism industries. 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."
Lets start with the countries that did not do so well. And the world's most unfriendly country, according to the data is Bolivia with 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.
|Bolivia did not score so well|
Attitude of population toward foreign visitors
(1 = very unwelcome; 7 = very welcome)
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
And the good news at the other end of the scale? Iceland and New Zealand tied at the top just ahead of Morocco in the rankings of the world's most welcoming nations for visitors.
|Welcome to Morocco!|
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
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 were the top three 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 region, 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.
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.