World’s “Best” Countries to Visit in 2019

World’s “Best” Countries to Visit in 2019

Every now and then some random organization or individuals come up with a ranking of some sort for the world’s best something or the other. This time we hear this list from the World Economic Forum which has come up with a list based on 90 criteria which include: infrastructure, safety, sustainable travel initiatives, culture, accommodation and value for money.

While I take any list which says “best” with a pinch of salt, travel readiness is something that is becoming a concern. Certain countries such as the Netherlands and New Zealand are experiencing “overtourism” and can no longer promise to deliver their strengths to tourism because of strain on their infrastructure. We have seen New Zealand try to catch up with infrastructure by introducing a ESTA and tourism fee. The Netherlands on the other hand has introduced new fees and restrictions like limiting the number of nights Airbnb hosts can rent their places to 30 nights per year.

With that being said there is no denying that there are places that are better equipped to handle the hordes of tourists. Here are the best countries to visit according to travel readiness:

1: Spain

It makes sense for a country like Spain to top the list because it isn’t quite as densely populated as its European counterparts, has multiple cities to engage the crowds (Madrid, Barcelona, Seville etc), and a vast high speed rail network to transport them. On top of that Spain is one of the most affordable European nations to visit.

Park Güell with a cross on top

2: France

France is about the size of Texas and even though Paris may be suffering from over-tourism, there are many other areas of the country that are ready to take on the onslaught of tourists. Transportation within the country is fairly easy with the TGV providing fast and efficient connections throughout.

a city with a dome in the distance
Les Invalides, Paris, France
3: Germany

Quite frankly I’m shocked that Germany isn’t no. 2 on this list. Germany’s transportation (road and rail) systems are nothing short of legendary and the country is teeming with charming medieval towns. And when you compare it to the likes of Switzerland, France, and  countries to the west of it, it is by far the most affordable. The number of English speakers also comes to mind in making Germany a better option than Spain or France.

a river with buildings and lights

4: Japan

I don’t deny for a moment that Japan should be on this list. It’s people may not all speak English, but they certainly make it a point to go out of their way to help anyone. To top this off, Japanese cities are insanely safe and have cheap public transportation systems.

a crowd of people walking in a street

5: United States

The U.S is an extremely affordable and vast nation with multiple natural wonders, great cities, and a relatively cumbersome but cheap transport system.  Safety is the biggest let down for the U.S with the highest gun violence of any developed country.

a city at night with lights

6: United Kingdom

London is the third most visited city in the world and is perhaps the most well connected city in the world with its vast airport network. This makes the UK one of the most easily accessed nations. Add in the historical and cultural importance of the UK and it’s a solid favorite to be on any list.

a river with a clock tower and boats in it
Red London
7: Australia

I have no clue why Australia is ahead of Italy and Switzerland, but I do acknowledge that the country has spectacularly clean cities, a lively food scene, and vast areas of wilderness to explore and run into dangerous animals. Because of its size and lack of population density, it doesn’t really have the high speed rail networks that we see elsewhere. As for culture, I suppose there’s the Sydney Opera House, but I don’t see how it could overshadow Italy.

Sydney Opera House with pointed roof and a body of water

8: Italy

If there is one country you can explore for a lifetime and never scratch its surface, it’s Italy. The country has everything: ancient cities, beaches, mountains, and more history in one section of it than all of America put together. Italy is also quite accessible with its rail network and relatively safe. I’m guessing it’s lower on this list because of “overtourism”?

a canal with boats and buildings in the background

9: Canada

Canada like the United States is a vast nation with multiple attractions. Though there isn’t really a high speed rail system to speak of, the country does have a vast network of roads and towns providing ample infrastructure for tourism. It’s also very easy to find a wilderness area for yourself.

a lake surrounded by trees and mountains

10: Switzerland

We all know I think this should be the best nation to visit on any given day. There isn’t a country better geared for tourism on this list than Switzerland. Switzerland’s efficient public transportation system, jaw dropping scenery, hundreds of miles of paved trails, and density of towns with significant other infrastructure are pretty much unparalleled. There are perhaps two reasons why the country isn’t higher on the list: cost of living and lack of history when compared to surrounding European nations.

a green hills with mountains and clouds
Lauterbrunnen Valley Sunrise

According to the same report, here are the bottom 10 countries to visit (I’m surprised Syria and North Korea didn’t make this list).

1: Yemen
2: Chad
3: Liberia
4: Burundi
5: Democratic Republic of Congo
6: Mauritania
7: Angola
8: Haiti
9: Burkina Faso
10: Sierra Leone

What do you guys think of the World Economic Forum’s Rankings? What’s your favorite country to visit?

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