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Ireland among the friendliest countries in the world for foreign visitors

Shaking Hands Ireland remains amongst the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world for foreign visitors, according to major new global research.

A study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that Ireland ranks 9th on a global list of the attitude of its native population to visitors.

On a scale of 1 to 7, where 7 is "very welcome", a survey commissioned by the WEF found that the average Irish response gave a response of 6.6 when asked about their attitude to foreign visitors.

Though most countries offered an average response of 6.0 or higher, Ireland's relatively high proportion of high responses means it is behind only eight other countries - and only four other European nations - in the warmth of its welcome.

Iceland was the most welcoming country, with an average response of 6.8, marginally ahead of New Zealand.

Bolivia ranked at the bottom, with a score of only 4.1, with Venezuela scoring 4.5 and Russia coming third-from-last at 5.0.

Aggregating scores across a wide variety of factors - including the strength of the cultural sphere, transport links, accommodation and accessibility - Ireland ranks 19th in the world, with a total average score of 5.01 out of 7.

While Ireland performs highly in terms of the education of its public, and its tourism infrastructure, its score falls back on cultural resources, price competitiveness and natural resources - though the later score is based on inflexible scores like the number of total known unique species and biome protection.

Switzerland tops the poll, with a score of 5.66, ahead of Germany and Austria on 5.39, and Spain and the UK on 5.38.

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This page was last updated on Thursday 5 May 2016.

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